How a Local University Partnership Is Creating a Pipeline of Automation Technicians in Indiana

March 22, 2021

The manufacturing industry is projected to grow in Indiana due to a rise of manufacturing jobs and an increasing amount of people retiring from the workforce. With those growth projections, the demand for automation technicians has never been higher.  

Automation technicians are experts in manufacturing who troubleshoot, maintain and repair intricate manufacturing systems.

The increased demand for these technicians reflects the greater need for technical training and skill building in an increasingly STEM-focused economy.

The Caterpillar Foundation is committed to investing in innovative workforce readiness programs to equip people with the skills they need to join the modern workforce.

In Lafayette, Indiana, to address the local shortage of skilled technicians, the Foundation is supporting the Vincennes University Advanced Internship in Manufacturing (AIM) program. The AIM program is an earn-and-learn program where students are in class two days a week at the Subaru Technical Training Center and work three days a week as industrial automation technicians at one of 14 manufacturers in the Lafayette area.

Upon completion of the two-year associate degree in Manufacturing Automation Technology, graduates will enter into the industrial automation maintenance career field.

Through the Foundation’s support, the AIM program will upgrade its equipment in its laboratories that will expose students to leading-edge technologies and develop them into leaders in Industry 4.0 or advanced smart manufacturing.

The Foundation will additionally enable the AIM program to recruit high school students in the greater Lafayette area, Tippecanoe County, and surrounding counties to help build a strong future in manufacturing by introducing them to the industry through interactive experiences with portable smart technology collaborative robots, conveyors, and other technical components.

This partnership with Vincennes University exemplifies the Caterpillar Foundation’s commitment to supporting programs that are tailored to local labor markets, where teachers are well-equipped and well-trained, and students get hands-on experience in the workplace.

While we recognize that closing the skills gap will take more than one industry or organization, we know together, we can ensure that next generation of workers have access to an equitable future.

Learn more about our partnership here.


Andrew Culbreath, a Vincennes University AIM student / Credit: Vincennes University

Andrew Culbreath
Female STEM students