The grant will be matched dollar for dollar from WorkOne, which “means we have nearly $100,000 for training our workforce,” said Rick Burger, district manager for Duke Energy.

The training will target workers in Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Putnam counties.

Lisa Lee, executive director of WorkOne in Terre Haute, said workforce development “is a key competitive edge for any community.”

“When a site selector comes to a community to look to possibly place a new business in a region, the first two things they ask about are location/infrastructure and the workforce,” Lee said in an announcement held at Clabber Girl in Terre Haute.

Lee said a skilled workforce is vital for manufacturers.

“Manufacturers today work leaner than they ever have,” she said. “There is no one on any manufacturing staff today or workforce that does not play a key role in operations, and technology is moving forward very fast, and government regulations move very fast and the market place is moving fast. ... So businesses have to have people who work smart and are well-trained,” Lee said.

The program will target three employee groups that have projected shortages — industrial machinists, industrial electricians and maintenance workers, Lee said. WorkOne will then work to fill the entry-level positions that will be opened once the employed and trained workers move into their new manufacturing roles, Lee said.

Ann Valentine, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley region, said Ivy Tech will teach workers, starting next week, over a 14-month period, as the grant’s deadline is Dec. 31, 2013.

“We are not only are striving to be a premiere workforce provider but we also are listeners to the business and industry in our region,” Valentine said. “We know there is a critical work skills gap, and we hear it is in these key areas of machinists, electricians and maintenance technicians.”

Burger said industrial manufacturers are customers of Duke Energy “and we are proud to be that partner to help them be more successful in their business. We got a great community that is diversified and we just want to continue to see it grow.”

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..