Catapult Indiana, Conexus’ innovative, industry-led advanced manufacturing training program that prepares participants for a career in advanced manufacturing, has launched a new youth-focused cohort with incoming seniors and high school graduates at the Greater Lafayette Career Academy (GLCA).

The new program is hosting 13 students, four of whom are current interns at Caterpillar and six who came to Catapult after losing an internship opportunity due to COVID-19. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, Conexus and GLCA have taken measures to ensure the cohort’s safety, including establishing a six-foot self-perimeter rule in the classrooms as well as barriers between workstations in the workshop.  These measures are in addition to the standard expectation of using face masks.

Due to the initial success of the program, Catapult is working with GLCA to start a program targeting high school students and potentially offer the training at a program for troubled youth. Additionally, Catapult is taking steps toward an adult program at GLCA.

In addition to its youth program growth, Catapult continues to expand its relationship with the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC). Recently, Catapult entered a partnership with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the IDOC to receive funds for training up to 100 inmates at the Catapult program in the Branchville Correctional Facility.  This expanded operation is set to launch in August.

Looking to the future, Catapult has begun setting up operations and ordering equipment for a Catapult program at Vincennes University in Jasper, Ind. This new program will be geared toward adults, with the hope of eventually creating a program for high school students. Radius Indiana has expressed interest in supporting the Jasper initiative as well as setting up a program in Bedford, Ind.

Both Catapult programs at Anderson and Greensburg are underway but paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.