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Karis Kindinger

In April 2021, Bethel University received a $255,000 Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) grant, allowing for greater educational opportunities related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The revised Phase II proposal of the LIFT grant was presented in December 2020. The $255,00 total project budget includes $230,000 for Phase II and $25,000 of remaining Phase I planning grant funds.

Bethel will put this grant toward two areas: Future Talent Pipeline Development and Adult and Incumbent Digital Skills Retraining. The goals of this initiative will be, first, to better prepare current Bethel students as technical managers for manufacturing and engineering jobs in the South Bend-Elkhart (SBE) region, with an increased focus on lean manufacturing principles.

“Local industry indicated their greatest need is for graduates to understand how to solve problems and apply Lean Manufacturing concepts,” says Sheri Campeau, assistant professor of engineering at Bethel. “We will purchase two robots, with a goal of adding more in the future, and create two new classes for the Engineering & Management degree. The engineering lab will also be refreshed, allowing more flexibility and the chance to eventually offer classes to local industry.”

The second goal of the initiative is to grow the cloud computing skillset of the SBE region's current and future workforce. Cathy Bareiss, Ph.D., professor of computer science at Bethel University, looks forward to what this grant means for both Bethel and the community.

“With computing work being transitioned to the cloud, this grant provides us with a great opportunity to develop cloud information technology (IT) workers in the local area,” says Bareiss. “It also serves to help develop cloud computing as a main pillar in Bethel’s computing programs.”

This grant will enable Bethel to further educate its traditional undergraduate students, as well as individuals who are currently employed in or seeking employment in the regional manufacturing and engineering sectors. Additional opportunities will also be offered for high school students.

“We are extremely grateful to have received this LIFT grant,” says Matt Lentsch, vice president for institutional advancement. “We look forward to further equipping our students at Bethel, and the surrounding community, for success.”

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