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GREENSBURG — It's graduation day at the Greensburg Learning Center and Nicholas Schaeffer is one of the many grads beaming with pride.
"Exhilarating! It feels good," Schaeffer said. "It feels great. It's a big step."
Schaeffer and the other graduates are armed with new skills, and new jobs thanks to an innovative four-week training program through Conexus Indiana called Catapult Indiana.
“It’s a work and learn [program], so there’s 80 hours of that, which is in a classroom, and then 80 hours which is hands on. It really is clear and concise, and industry driven and industry built to address those needs for manufacturing,” Brad Rhorer, the chief talent programs officer for Conexus Indiana, said. “There’s almost 90,000 open manufacturing jobs in Indiana and a lot of those are entry-level positions.”
Schaeffer was introduced to the program when his former employer announced it was closing.
“I was looking for something new to kind of help launch my career, and to pay for my children and their college,” Schaeffer said. “It was a great option for the fact that you’re getting paid to do it and like I said, it’s only a month to get the credits. I graduated from high school in 2002 but haven’t gone through college for the fact I had children at a young age, and so I took advantage of it.”
Schaeffer made $12 an hour during those four weeks.
“The goal is really to be quick, easy, concise to the point of training but additionally what we’re trying to do is take the people that are underemployed and give them opportunity to a larger career,” Rhorer said.
Schaeffer is proof of that. He was offered a new job and launched into a better life before he even completed the program.
“I’ll be working for Delta Faucet here in Greensburg," Schaeffer said. "So I’ll be going from making really low wages, about $10 to $12 an hour to making $17, $18 an hour.”
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Catapult has trained nearly 4,000 students throughout Indiana, with a 95% placement rate. They have several different locations throughout the state and plan on expanding.
The program is open to any Hoosier, and the only requirement is a high school diploma or GED equivalent.