Goshen College given LIFT Network grant for information and business technology

Grant will catalyze the development and expansion of non-degree and academic degree credentialing programs to support the future of manufacturing and advanced industry in the South Bend – Elkhart region.

Goshen College has received a $400,000 Phase II Digital Skills Accelerator  grant to support digital workforce transformation.

Goshen College is one of eight regional colleges and universities to receive grants for new programs designed to help the South Bend – Elkhart region advance its current and future highly-skilled workforce. These awards, totaling $2.465 million, will support learning and programs designed to equip the region’s workforce to thrive in the digital age of industry. The initiatives span a diverse set of programs and activities that include flexible non-degree programs and industry-recognized certifications, as well as formal two-year and four-year degree programs of study in data science and other in-demand fields.

The awards stem from the LIFT Network’s Digital Skills Accelerator Fund, which is facilitated by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and the University of Notre Dame. The LIFT Network is a regional consortium of colleges and non-profits, led by the University of Notre Dame and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. Funding to catalyze the network is made possible by a $42.4 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grant to the University of Notre Dame, awarded in 2019.

“We are excited to begin this project,” said Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “It supports the work our faculty are doing with undergraduate students and expands it to intentionally tie together the fields of information technology and business, based on the needs expressed by local businesses.”

Goshen College will develop a Digital Skills Accelerator Program that will both build future and current workforce pipelines, focused on business and information technology disciplines. The College will develop a new information & business technology undergraduate degree program in partnership with industry leaders across the College’s business advisory committee.

Undergraduate students will enroll in the program over the two-year grant period. In addition to the new degree program, Goshen College will also facilitate summer academic bootcamps that promote exploration of computer science and business technology disciplines for regional K-12 students.

Students participate in the Science Olympiad at Goshen College.

“We are looking forward to regular meetings with a business advisory council to help us better serve them with qualified interns and graduates,” Vendrely said. “We will also be able to offer some new industry-based credentials in the summer.”

Grant awards were made in two phases. Phase I planning grants were awarded at $50,000 per institution in August 2020 and helped give regional higher education institutions the capacity to form internal and regional working groups to support proposal development. In November 2020, a workshop was held for the institutions to share prospective plans and foster collaboration and coordination among partners. Institutions then submitted Phase II proposals in December 2020. Following the anticipated launch of projects during the summer of 2021, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and iNDustry Labs plan to regularly convene stakeholders to strengthen coordination as it relates to industry engagement and partnership development.

“Talent is an essential factor to strengthen our advanced industries and traded sectors and build a sustainable innovation-driven economy,” said, Dr. Pete McCown, president of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and board chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “These innovative programs and critical investments being made by colleges and universities across the region bring a highly focused effort to equipping our future workforce with the information and skills needed to succeed in careers of the future.”

About the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network:

The Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network was established to formalize the collaborative opportunities among the South Bend – Elkhart region’s innovation, R&D, workforce training, and educational assets to provide a comprehensive portfolio of cutting-edge resources to support advancement in the region’s key industrial sectors. Collectively these efforts will support the South Bend – Elkhart region through the transformation to an increasingly digital and automated future, enhancing the current manufacturing base with new business models, technologies and tailored workforce training programs while accelerating new high-tech sector growth in the region. For more information about the LIFT Network, visit liftsbe.org.

LIFT Network and the associated iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame were catalyzed by a $42.4 million grant awarded to the University of Notre Dame in 2019 from Lilly Endowment Inc.  The grant supports Notre Dame’s partnership with the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership in establishing and advancing the LIFT Network.

About the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, visit SouthBendElkhart.org.