SCILL Receives NIPSCO Luminary Award for Education

Starke County, Indiana - The Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) was honored by Northern Indiana Public Service Company at its fourth annual Luminary Awards held on September 17, 2015 at company headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana. The awards recognize leaders and organizations for their outstanding commitment to strengthening local communities.

The Luminary Awards were created in 2012 in celebration of the utility’s 100-year anniversary. Recipients demonstrate outstanding commitment in five key areas: education, environmental stewardship, economic development, emergency response and community leadership.

The 2015 Education Award recipient was SCILL, recognized for its education programs which work to meet the needs of area industries, filling the training gap between students and careers in the fundamental fields of automotive and welding.

In 1996, Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s leadership formed SCILL from within the organization as an aggressive approach to attracting and retaining manufacturers. Long before the term “skills gap” was widely used, Starke County was developing and nurturing relationships to fill current and future needs.

Almost 20 years after its start, SCILL remains committed to its vision of developing a well-trained workforce to which major area employers are assured access, and they continue to expand on their offerings to meet the needs of local and area industries, NIPSCO said of the award.

Currently, the automotive technology classes which serve the 10 schools in the North Central Area Vocational Cooperative (NCAVC) have a record enrollment of 71 high school juniors and seniors from 9 of the 10 NCAVC schools. IN addition, the welding technology classes also have a record enrollment of 38 students from 6 of the 10 NCAVC schools. The adult welding program recently began its 10th class with an enrollment of 8 adults from 5 different counties. This program has now graduated over 100 trained students over their three year history.

Area SCILL Auto Tech Students Participate In Regional Competition

Four students of the Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) Auto Tech program recently participated for the first time in regional competition at the 2015 SkillsUSA Regional Auto Service Competition held at the Elkhart Area Career Center. As part of the North Central Indiana Vocational Co-operative, students were from various area schools: Jacob Boyer, John Glenn; Austin Burton, Knox; Travis Doan, LaVille; and Bennett Ullery, Triton. SCILL instructors Josh Holdread and Scott Manns coached the group.

The competition included 23 students from career centers in Elkhart, Monticello, Michigan City and Hammond, as well as SCILL, in Knox. Each participant had to complete a written test, including 150 ASE-based questions, and individual skill competition at 10 work stations, each involving a problem to be solved in a different area of automotive technology. The top five individual finishers move on to the State competition, then onto the Nationals.

Boyer and Doan tied for sixth best score on the ASE written test, and Doan had the highest score of all competitors on the Steering and Suspension work station, scoring 48 out of 50. Each of the students received a scholarship of their choice, either a $500 scholarship to Ohio Technical College, in Cleveland, or a $1,000 scholarship to Lincoln Tech, in Indianapolis. Three of the four participants are considering attending Lincoln Tech’s two-year associate degree program.

Ron Gifford, special project coordinator with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation and director of SCILL, said, “Students from four different schools worked together to prepare for the competition and came back very excited, encouraging others to participate. The coaches couldn’t be involved during the competition, but gathered to exchange ideas, share experiences and provide tips to each other.”

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to help students excel and to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Serving more than 300,000 students and instructors annually, SkillsUSA provides a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.

SCILL adds Elizabeth Tylisz as welding instructor

The Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning, Inc. (SCILL) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Tylisz will join the staff of the welding technology program effective as of August 25, 2014. Ms. Tylisz will be teaching the morning vocational welding class as well as some of the adult welding classes beginning immediately upon her arrival at SCILL.

Ms. Tylisz is a native of Michigan City, Indiana and a graduate of Michigan City High School where she won the Art Student of the Year Award in 2000. Since graduating, she attended Baran institute of Technology in East Windsor, Connecticut where she earned a diploma for welding technology, together with several certificates of completion in various types of welding and welds. She has also worked as a welder in several industries, including aerospace, nuclear and a paper mill, where she obtained and maintained various certifications in those industries.

Ms. Tylisz has also been employed by Lincoln Technical Institute in East Windsor, Connecticut where she was a welding instructor for 2 1⁄2 years, teaching students ranging from age 17 and up. She has been described by her supervisors there as having a great passion for welding and an excellent “hands on” instructor.

At SCILL, Ms. Tylisz will join Andy Odle on the instructional team. Odle was instrumental in setting up the program at SCILL and has taught both high school classes as well as adults. Odle is a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) and has pledged to assist Ms. Tylisz in likewise earning that designation. Odle said that “I am thrilled that Elizabeth has agreed to come onto our staff, as she brings not only teaching experience, but also knowledge and experience in a broad range of industries with certifications in several areas. She will be a great addition to helping train welders for the future.”

Jerry Gurrado, Coordinator of Student Services and Programs at SCILL said that “the addition of Elizabeth Tylisz to our staff greatly strengthens our ability to provide high-level instruction second to none in our area. We are excited about her arrival at SCILL because of her knowledge and experience in both the field and in teaching.”

Ms. Tylisz said that “I am looking forward to relocating back to Indiana after several years on the east coast and am also excited to work with Andy Odle and the rest of the SCILL staff in training future welders in Starke County. After seeing the SCILL welding facility and equipment and talking to Andy Odle, I cannot wait to get started.”

Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) offers two High School programs

KNOX, Ind., August 14, 2014- Have you ever dreamt about seeking to start a new career, but did not know how to receive the necessary training to do so? Well, SCILL changes lives, one person at a time. Through SCILL and their partners, they provide Starke County with customized training for area industries to meet their specific needs, vocational high school programs in automotive and welding technology, an adult program in welding technology, computer software training, and literacy programs. SCILL’s mission is to offer learning opportunities that are close by, flexible, and promptly responsive to the needs of employers, employees, the underemployed, the discouraged and the unemployed for Starke County, the City of Knox, and the towns of Hamlet and North Judson.

One program SCILL offers is a Vocational Welding Technology program. This is a two-year course designed for juniors and seniors in high school. Participants are instructed on blueprint reading/symbols, welding measurements, safety, MIG/TIG/Stick welding, aluminum welding, stainless welding, rolled pipe welding, oxy acetylene welding, flat/angle/vertical up & down/horizontal and overhead steel welding, brazing, plasma cutting, and oxy fuel burning. Upon completion, students earn high school credits for graduation and can receive additional dual transferable college credit at no additional cost to the student. The cost of tuition to this SCILL program is paid by the student’s own school corporation. Book rental and a welding kit are NOT included in program tuition.

The SCILL Vocational Welding Technology Program utilizes AWS certified instructors who bring a great deal of hands-on knowledge to the classroom and lab. They are highly trained both in teaching and in their knowledge of welding and the various welding techniques.

SCILL has been proven to provide individuals with many opportunities based on their knowledge and skills. Tyler Wilke, of Knox, had originally heard about the SCILL Vocational Welding Technology Program through his guidance counselor in high school. After completing the two year program, he is now a full time employee at Kruz Manufacturing located in Knox. He applauded the program, stating the instructors are involved in finding locations to work after graduation.

Another program SCILL offers is a Vocational Automotive Technology Program. This is a two year, half day program in which students from area high schools may elect to participate. Junior and senior students attend their high school for half a day, participate in sports and extra-curricular activities, and spend the other half at SCILL. In this program, students learn the areas of instruction in brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, suspension and steering, automatic transmission and transaxle, engine repair, heating and air conditioning, and manual drive train and axles. After completion, the students leave SCILL with the ability to make decisions and solve problems, visualize components, and make precise adjustments.

The SCILL Vocational Automotive Technology Program instructors are both graduates of the SCILL program, and both also took further training from Lincoln Tech and Ivy Tech after graduation. Both also worked in the industry prior to becoming SCILL instructors. Both either have or are working on obtaining ASE certifications in all 8 areas of instruction.

Graduates of the Vocational Automotive Technology Program attaining some Automotive Service Excellence Student Certification have been actively recruited by automotive groups and the armed forces, as well as NASCAR. Students will graduate with workforce ready skills. The skills learned during this two year program provide students with a strong foundation for continuing education as well.

Doug Beem, of Knox, has recently graduated from the vocational automotive technology program. He enjoyed the hands on projects most, while learning about his future career. Doug is currently enrolled at Lincoln College of Technology, where he will earn a degree in Auto Technology. After earning his degree, Doug hopes to work for Ford Motor.

If interested in enrolling in the SCILL Vocational Welding Technology Program or Vocational Automotive Technology Program, contact your high school counselor, contact SCILL directly, or use the online application found at www.scill.biz or www.ncavc.info . Students will be exposed to internship opportunities with local businesses, which will help to further solidity their career path and increase their experience for employment after graduation and possible employment with local and area businesses.

Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) continues adult welding training courses

KNOX, IN, August 28, 2014- Have you ever dreamt about seeking to start a new career, but did not know how to receive the necessary training to do so? Well, SCILL changes lives, one person at a time. Through SCILL and their partners, they provide Starke County with customized training for area industries to meet their specific needs, vocational high school programs in automotive and welding technology, an adult program in welding technology, computer software training, and literacy programs. SCILL’s mission is to offer learning opportunities that are close by, flexible, and promptly responsive to the needs of employers, employees, the underemployed, the discouraged and the unemployed for Starke County, the City of Knox, and the towns of Hamlet and North Judson.

SCILL offers an Adult Welding Technology Program which is a 12 week, four-hour, two evenings per week program for beginning welders or for those wishing to upgrade their skills or obtain certification. By participating in this program, SCILL gives students and employers the opportunity to visit job fairs and contact with area industries through plant tours and speakers who are in need of trained welders. Students also receive training with interviewing and resume writing during this time. The SCILL Adult Welding Technology Program registration fee of $2,000 includes all necessary materials for completion of the course. Eligible participants may have some or all of the course fees paid for by making application through WorkOne.

The SCILL Adult Welding Technology Program uses instructors who are AWS certified and bring a great deal of hands-on knowledge to the classroom and lab. They are highly trained both in teaching and in their knowledge of welding and the various welding techniques. The participants at SCILL are instructed on blueprint reading/symbols, welding measurements, safety, MIG/TIG/Stick welding, aluminum welding, stainless welding, rolled pipe welding, oxy acetylene welding, brazing, plasma cutting, and oxy fuel burning.

One student, who resides in Knox, had originally heard about the SCILL program through high school and has since then completed the Adult Welding Technology Program. Throughout the program, he enjoyed learning something new every day and said the instructors were very knowledgeable about their career. Because of his experience through the SCILL Adult Welding Program, he has had three different job offerings and now works with the Braun Corporation in Winamac.

SCILL also offers an advanced welding program that tailors the training to the individual’s needs. A prospective student is evaluated on their welding skills and that specific evaluation is then weighted on the student’s ultimate goals. SCILL then designs an individual training program for that student which matches where he wants to be, against where his skills level is at presently. This program can range from a few weeks of brushing up skills in preparation to take a certification test, to a long range program. SCILL currently has two adult students who are on pace to complete pipe fitter training in August of 2016. This advanced program is designed to be as flexible as possible to help match a prospective student’s needs.

If interested in enrolling in the SCILL Adult Welding Technology Program, simply contact your local WorkOne office, contact SCILL directly, or use the online application found at www.scill.biz. Students will be exposed to internship opportunities with local businesses, which will help to further solidity their career path and increase their experience for employment after graduation and possible employment with local and area businesses.

SCILL holds graduation ceremonies

Approximately 240 graduates, family members, and other supporters were on hand recently to honor the accomplishments of the 2014 Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) graduates in Automotive Technology and Welding Technology. Among the guests in attendance were Brian Spaulding, Field Representative for Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, State Senator Ed Charbonneau and State Senator Jim Arnold. A letter was read from U.S. Senator Joseph Donnelly.

Twelve students graduated from the Welding program, now two years old. Two-year participants in the program earn 15 credits at Ivy Tech Community College at no cost to the student. The curriculum includes a special program by the American Welding Society (AWS) known as SENSE (School Excelling through National Skill Standards Education) to measure learned welding knowledge and earns student’s a certificate that can be presented to future employers evidencing that this rigorous curriculum has been followed and completed successfully. All 7 of this year’s 2-year graduates in welding technology passed all 9 modules of SENSE. In addition, eligible welding students are enrolled in half–day paid internships with area industries beginning their second semester and attend class on the remaining 4 weekdays. This has resulted in several summer positions as well as job offers for full employment to those students who are not continuing on in educational studies. The 12 welding technology graduates earned 35 AWS certifications. More than $3,000 in scholarships were presented to the graduates by Instructors Andy Odle and Matt Matlock. Tyler Wilke of Knox High School was named Top Welder.

Twenty-five (25) students graduated from the Automotive Technology Program. Automotive Technology students earn 14 hours of dual credit from Ivy Tech Community College at no cost to the student. ASE (American Service Excellence) certification examinations are administered in 9 different content areas for ASE Student Certifications. The 25 graduates earned 109 ASE certifications. Six seniors earned ASE certifications in all 9 areas. Now in its 13th year, more than 600 students have taken at least one year of the SCILL Automotive Technology Program and have gone on to higher education or have successfully entered the workforce. New Instructors Scott Manns and Josh Holdread, themselves graduates of the SCILL Automotive Technology program, presented the graduates with scholarships valued at $4,500. The Top Gun winner (top 2-year student) was Gregory Davis of Argos High School.

Janice Hernandez, Regional Operations Manager at Integrity Trade Services in Knox, was the featured speaker for the graduation. Ms Hernandez challenged the students stating “the choices you make today will follow you tomorrow.” Hernandez has assisted in the establishment of the welding internship program. Beginning this coming year, an intern program will be implemented in Automotive Technology.

Both SCILL programs are part of the North Central Area Vocational Cooperative (NCAVC), serving 10 school corporations in 4 counties, including Starke County’s three school corporations.

Longtime NCAVC Executive Director, Jerry Hollenbaugh, was honored as a part of the program on his retirement and was presented gifts fabricated by the SCILL students for his support of SCILL programs. Hollenbaugh’s 37 years as NCAVC Executive Director have created 20 strong vocational programs throughout his district.

Local student wins district 13 American Welding Society (AWS) Scholarship

A 2013 Knox High School graduate, Katlynn Surfus, has been selected as this year’s winner of the District 13 American Welding Society (AWS) Welding Scholarship. District 13 encompasses the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. Katlynn graduated from the Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Leaning (SCILL) vocational welding program in May, after earning 4 AWS welding certifications. She applied for the scholarship through the AWS website and is the first recipient of this scholarship from Indiana. She will be putting that scholarship to good use in August as she will be attending Ohio Technical College (OTC) in Cleveland, Ohio to further her welding education. She has been using the days between high school graduation and entering OTC by taking an advanced welding program at SCILL this summer. In addition, Katlynn will be competing at the Indiana State Fair in August after having been crowned as 4-H Junior Leader Achievement Royalty at the recently held Starke County 4H Fair.

When asked about the scholarship she stated, “Andy Odle (SCILL Welding Instructor) taught me so much in just one year. I went from knowing nothing about welding to falling in love with welding and wanting to make it my career. Jerry Gurrado (SCILL Coordinator of Student Services and Programs) has encouraged all of us to reach for our dreams and to apply for anything that is available in the way of scholarship help. I applied back in March and I was thrilled when I was contacted about being the winner.”

The SCILL vocational welding program began in August of 2012 in Knox, Indiana with an opening class of 16, all of whom finished the one year program. All 16 students received at least one AWS certification, and the class as a whole earned 47 such certifications. In addition, all 16 students received 11 hours of college credit from Vincennes University while still enrolled in high schools from 4 different school corporations in 3 counties. The program was developed by a committee of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation as a means of providing workforce skills to meet an acute need for welders, not only in Starke County, but also in the area, and nationally.

Four SCILL Students Selected to be Recognized in Second Annula CTE's Under 21

Four graduates of the Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning(SCILL) programs in Automotive and Welding Technology were selected to be recognized atNorthwest Indiana’s CTE second annual 21 Under 21 recognition reception held on May 19 at the Ivy Tech campus in Valparaiso. The “21 Under 21” awards are given to twenty-one individuals from Northwest Indiana that are building resumes with experiences in technical programs, while being under the age of 21. These students can consist of those that are still in high school or have recently graduated, and have continued to build up their resumes after being enrolled in various Technical Education programs in Northwest Indiana. This reception was hosted by the Region One Indiana Works Council. The goal of the Council is to recognize students that tie together their technical experience with their high school education. This is the first year that SCILL graduates have been nominated, and all four students nominated were selected to be honored.

William Bennett – SCILL Automotive Technology

William (“Beau”) graduated from Knox High School, and then continued his education by enrolling at the University of Northwest Ohio. William served as the 4H Vice President, was a member of FFA, and was also a camp counselor for the 4H Camp. He has also had many work experiences within his two years of SCILL Automotive Vocational Training, which included working for Best Ford, ZROD, Bane Welker Equipment NT in Winamac, and as an operator and mechanic for Kirk Bennett Farms. Bennett has also earned nine ASE automotive certifications,as well as received the Best Diagnostic Award, the Kersting’s Safety Performance Award (SCILL),a Hydraulic Brake Certification (UNOH), and a MASC Air Conditioning certification.

Jacob Pearson – SCILL Automotive Technology

Jacob graduated from Plymouth High School, and continued his education by attending theUniversity of Northwest Ohio. As a servant to the community, Jacob was involved in Boy Scouts of America, was part of a local youth group, and participated in a mission trip for relief ofHurricane Sandy. Pearson completed one year of Vocational Auto Tech at SCILL, and worked for Country Auto Center of Plymouth as an intern and then as a summer employee, and then worked for Bane Welker Equipment of Plymouth, Indiana. Jacob has earned 7 ASE certifications,as well as the Marohn Scholarship through SCILL, and the Most Professional Award through SCILL.

Levi Schleg – SCILL Automotive Technology

Levi graduated from John Glenn High School, and continued his education through VincennesUniversity. Levi was very involved in the community through football, basketball, as well as volunteering at the Humane Animal Shelter, and blood drives. He completed two years of vocational auto tech, was an intern his senior year, and then worked for Economy Auto. He then continued to become self-employed and has his own business of buying, repairing, and selling vehicles. Levi has passed 9 ASE Certifications, and certified in 5th Wheel Hitches at Vincennes. He also received the Extra Mile Award (SCILL), and the Economy Auto MostDependable Award.

Katlynn Surfus – SCILL Welding

Katlynn graduated from Knox High School, and received an Associate’s Degree in Welding fromOhio Technical College. Katlynn was very involved in the community as a nine year 4H leader member, the Starke County 4-H Queen, cheerleading, and the SCILL community Coat Drive, as well as the SCILL Community Leaf Raking Project. She also had one year of vocational welding in the form of an internship at SCILL, was then accepted into Ironworkers Local 292apprenticeship program after graduating from Ohio Technical College, and had the experience of welding on the Notre Dame Stadium expansion. She currently works at the Cook NuclearFacility in Michigan. Katlynn is also the first Indiana resident to receive a welding scholarship2from District 15 of the American Welding Society (AWS), and also earned two 3G AWS certifications while attending Ohio Technical College.