October is Manufacturing Month, so to celebrate Indian Hills hosted about 150 students from high schools across the area to both Ottumwa campuses Thursday.
The machine technology and welding departments were highlighted and students were able to see first-hand the kind of technology and opportunities available in advanced technology programs. One such technology was a virtual welding machine, which allows students to practice accuracy without needing an actual welder.
Every program in Indian Hills' advanced technology department offers hands-on training and that is a big draw for students.
"Our programs are very much hands-on and they are getting real world experience, of course there are books, there are lectures, but a lot of what they do is hands-on, real world experience," said Nate Miller, Career Coordinator at Indian Hills. "So that when they do go out in the workforce, our industry partners are happy with what they're able to do. We are training out a skilled workforce and I think that's important."
Miller said events like Thursday's open house also help clear up misconceptions about manufacturing or factory jobs. While many still have the somewhat old-fashioned view of long hours in a dirty factory, conditions have improved and positions in manufacturing are rewarding ones.
There is also a large demand for industry jobs in our area, so students visiting Indian Hills got to learn just how many high-paying job opportunities there are waiting for them once they graduate.