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Lisa Betzner

Nearly 2,200 Area School Students Take Part in National Manufacturing Week Career Awareness Events

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Warsaw, Ind., October 21, 2019— Nearly 2,200 middle and high school students from Kosciusko County got a close-up look at careers in the advanced manufacturing industry recently during National Manufacturing Week events organized by OrthoWorx.

During the week of September 30, eighth-grade students participated in the DiscoverME (Manufacturing Experiences) program. Students from Tippecanoe Valley, Warsaw, Wawasee and Whitko school corporations toured manufacturing plants, visited the Ivy Tech Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (OAMTC), toured their high school’s designated Career Technical Education center, and explored in-class topics focused on career opportunities within advanced manufacturing, as well as the training and education available to prepare for those careers.

On October 4, National Manufacturing Day, high school sophomores from across the county converged on the Grace College campus to participate in RealME, to learn about the wide diversity of careers surrounding manufacturing and the opportunities for training in the area to prepare for those careers.  Students participated in a hands-on exercise modeled after the manufacturing process, heard panel discussions about careers from industry employees, heard about high school career center educational opportunities, and learned about programming and dual credit opportunities at Ivy Tech.

“I had an opportunity to moderate a panel of industry representatives during RealME and I was pleased at how engaged the students were and impressed with how much valuable information the industry personnel were able to communicate to them,” said Suzie Light, CEO of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.  “There are so many great opportunities for rewarding careers right here in our county, I think events like this are vital to make those possibilities apparent to our students.”

Both the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC) and the Wawasee Area Career and Technical Center offer a variety of programs to support the demands of our local workforce.  These programs help prepare students for direct entry into the workforce or support the next step in their education whether it be at Ivy Tech or another post-secondary institution.   “It’s important to remember that we need to keep building the pipeline of talent to keep our local economy thriving by showcasing our programs and facilities.  Awareness of our programs is the essential key to increasing our enrollment, currently our enrollment is low and we need more students in the trades. Our career center offers cooperative programs that feed right into a certificate or degree program at Ivy Tech along with outstanding facilities that align with industry demands,” said Ronna Kawksy, WACC Principal.

Approximately 225 volunteers from industry, Grace College, Ivy Tech, the school corporations and community partners helped plan and execute the DiscoverME and RealME programs.  “The level of collaboration for these activities was incredible and allowed us to offer really meaningful and engaging experiences for the students,” said Nichole Rouached, Manager of Communications Projects for OrthoWorx. “We also had increased support from sponsors, both direct monetary donations and in-kind support, which allowed us really raise the bar from the program prior year. We are extremely grateful for all the support we received and look forward to collaborating on future events related to career awareness.”

Participating manufacturers who volunteered for the DiscoverME tours were DePuy Synthes, Medtronic, Paragon Medical, Polywood, Precision Medical Technologies and Zimmer Biomet. At the Ivy Tech OAMTC, Instrumental Machine and Development and Haas Machines conducted a demonstration for students during the tour.

This event was made possible through generous monetary and in-kind support from a variety of sponsors, including the following support from Economic Impact, Platinum and Gold Level sponsors: the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, DePuy Synthes, The Dekko Foundation, Grace College, IN-MaC and Zimmer Biomet.


About OrthoWorx

Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment for the Orthopedics Capital Foundation, the OrthoWorx ( ) initiatives feature community-based strategic collaborations with the orthopedic industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the Warsaw region continues to reap the social and economic benefits that derive from its position as The Orthopedic Capital of the World.®

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OrthoWorx Launches RealME and Receives Grant for DiscoverME

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Warsaw, Ind, August 19, 2019–-The 2019 OrthoWorx Summer Intern Team launched a new talent development initiative, RealME, on Thursday, August 1 to an audience of community leaders, industry partners and state education officials.

RealME (Real Manufacturing Experiences) focuses on careers and educational pathways to local manufacturing opportunities and is a follow-up initiative to DiscoverME that the 2018 Summer Intern Team created for eighth grade students. RealME will take place on National Manufacturing Day, Friday, October 4, 2019 at Grace College’s Gordon Recreation Center and will engage all sophomore students in Tippecanoe Valley, Warsaw, Wawasee and Whitko school corporations.

RealME is an extension of the 2018 initiative DiscoverME, a week-long program that serves as an introduction to advanced manufacturing and the diverse career opportunities available related to machining. DiscoverME was an incredible success in 2018 with 68% of students acknowledging an increased awareness about local manufacturing in Kosciusko County.

Kendra Perkins, 2019 Lead Team Intern noted, “Our intern team was focused on making improvements to DiscoverME, based on teacher and student feedback, while also creating a new program, RealME.  We had an incredible experience listening to so many community partners and industry members on their workforce needs. We considered these concerns, but really focused on what would be exciting for the students,” Ms. Perkins said “We met with several local students, and even considered our own experiences with field trips. We want students to be more aware of career and educational opportunities, even through their own career centers, while also learning about the process and realities of manufacturing through a fun activity.”

The ME programs are geared towards educating students about the manufacturing industry in Kosciusko County. “Our ME programs demonstrate an incredible collaboration between the schools, industry partners and various community stakeholders like OrthoWorx,” stated Nichole Rouached, Manager, Communications & Projects. Ensuring the ME program aligns with student needs, OrthoWorx has been working with The Dekko Foundation to strengthen the programs and learn from other community initiatives. “OrthoWorx is committed to creating fun and engaging manufacturing programs for students and even educators that participate in the ME programs,” Ms. Rouached said. “Sponsorships and grants from organizations like The Dekko Foundation allow us to create exciting opportunities for students to understand career options and educational pathways that may not require loans after they leave high school or college.”

Parents and employers can learn more about the ME programs, DiscoverME and RealME, by contacting Nichole Rouached at OrthoWorx at

ORTHOWORX is a non-profit initiative formed in 2009 in the Orthopedic Capital of the World.  We received our initial funding from Lily Endowment, Inc. to fill a critical void in the industry as a connection for industry members, education and our community, leveraging resources to drive positive change.  It is our mission to ensure that our industry and the communities that depend on its success thrive with social and economic benefits for generations to come.



Hometown Chat – Warsaw

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If you live in Warsaw, we want to hear from you about the dreams and concerns you have for your community. Do you have something to say about… Housing? Jobs? Childcare? Recreation? Educational opportunities? Safety? Amenities? Other?

Please join us! Your opinion can help shape our grant making in the future!

Date/Time: Thursday, July 11th, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Location: Kosciusko County Community Foundation, 102 E Market St, Warsaw

Hometown Chat Poster


Northeast Indiana Events Calendar Highlights Quality of Life

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, in collaboration with Visit Fort Wayne and the convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) throughout the region, announces the launch of, which highlights select events in the region’s 11 counties.

“Our region offers vast opportunities for leisure and entertainment, which speaks to the high quality of life in Northeast Indiana. Communities throughout our 11 counties provide residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy unique festivals, experience live music and explore trails and waterways, all in one day. Connecting people to our community through events can help retain talent and potentially convert visitors into future residents. captures the top events throughout the region to showcase the depth and breadth of options at any given time,” said Galbraith.

Participating CVBs include:

  1. Adams County
  2. Visit Fort Wayne in Allen County
  3. DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  4. Visit Huntington
  5. Visit Kosciusko County
  6. Visit Shipshewana in LaGrange County
  7. Visit Noble County
  8. Steuben County Tourism Bureau
  9. Visit Wabash County
  10. Wells County Arts, Commerce & Visitors Centre
  11. Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center


Kosciusko County Community Survey – Final Week

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Final Week for Community Survey with the Welcomness Study

The community-wide Welcomeness Study is set to wrap up this next week as the survey comes to a close Thursday, May 16th. “OrthoWorx and our community partners have been delighted of the community response to the survey. More than 1,600 community members have shared their joys and concerns around living, working or playing in Kosciusko County,” stated Nichole Rouached, Manager, Communications and Projects at OrthoWorx.

According to Rouached, Kosciusko County’s vast natural attractions and wide array of professional opportunities help attract and retain talent. However, in a tight job market and with many workers choosing urban living, the community needs to know what keeps the local workforce and their families in the county and what can be done to better support those who interact with the county’s employers. Based on the first two phases of the Welcomeness Study that were carried out in the summer of 2018, housing and child care were identified as pressing concerns. “The survey will help collect valuable information for our community leaders so that we can make intentional and data-driven choices on directing community resources,” she said. “This is the best platform we can provide for our community to share their stories, both the successes and shortcomings of life in Kosciusko County.”

Community members who live, work or play in Kosciusko County are asked to complete the survey by Thursday, May 16th. Results from the survey will be shared in the coming months with the public as well as with various community and corporate organizations. The Welcomeness Study is being managed by BlackOnyx of Indianapolis. Cardinal Services and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation are partners with OrthoWorx in supporting the study.  To complete the survey, please visit: The survey is also available in Spanish at:


About OrthoWorx

Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment, OrthoWorx

( is a community-based initiative that works strategically and collaboratively with the orthopedic industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the Warsaw region continues to reap the social and economic benefits that derive from its position as The Orthopedic Capital of the World.®

KEDCo pursuing acquisition of prominent regional golf course

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WARSAW, IN (April 15, 2019)– The Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo) today announced the local economic development organization has executed a Letter of Intent to purchase Stonehenge Golf Course.

“Economic developers are described as ‘gap fillers,’ ‘matchmakers,’ and ‘dot connectors,’” said KEDCo CEO Alan Tio, “Relaunch of Stonehenge Golf Course provides a great opportunity for our team to play all three roles as we work to refocus our efforts to include quality of place amenities.”

Kosciusko County is a member of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), both of which were involved in the Regional Cities Initiative that saw communities across Northeast Indiana prioritize quality of place amenities.

“We are competing with communities nationwide to develop, attract, and retain residents who ‘vote with their feet’ about where to live,” said Orthoworx Executive Director and RDA Chairman Brad Bishop, “The Regional Cities Initiative demonstrated how critical quality of place amenities are to attracting and retaining talent.”

Stonehenge Golf Course will reopen this spring under the management of Cindy & Denny Hepler, longtime local residents who also operate the nearby Raccoon Run Golf Course.

“I have been involved with this course and a member for many years and understand its importance to what our community offers residents and visitors alike,” said Hepler, “We’re in the early stages of a plan that will see the course and its amenities become a key part of what puts Winona Lake on the map.”

KEDCo will now pursue due diligence on the property and finalize plans for redevelopment of the building and pool. Additional developments will be announced as more details become available.

About Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation:

Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo) was formed in 1984 to promote economic and community development in Kosciusko County. KEDCo is the economic development corporation serving Kosciusko County and all the municipalities therein.  Our mission is to promote economic development in Kosciusko County through the retention and expansion of existing business and industry, while attracting new business investments that complement the improvement of the quality of life. For more information, visit: