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IKORCC and Career Connect Work to Build a Strong Future for Students and Northwest Indiana

To create strong jobs, you need strong training and a well-made curriculum to provide a strong education for students. For members of the IKORCC, building this strong education is a primary and very important goal.

“At Career Connect, we realized the job market is challenged by demographics,” says IKORCC Senior Manager Thomas Dorsey. “We’re trying to build a strong next generation of workers to keep our organization strong for the future.”

Dorsey commented on how with schools focusing less on industrial arts, the importance of having a strong program that teaches students interested in carpentry the fundamentals at a young age is more important than ever.


“This kind of work makes any kind of experience other than hands on experience not as effective,” says Dorsey, “This requires work and examples from the real world.”

Dale Newlin, Senior INSTALL/ICRA Lead works with instructors and the program to make the curriculum more accessible to local schools and career centers as well as ensuring that the materials being provided to the program are the highest available quality for students and teachers.

“We’ve worked with both the Hammond Area Career Center and the PCCTC in terms of getting these courses and the material to the students,” says Newlin. “The great thing about these courses is that they are low cost, do not require expensive equipment and other new material. Everything is provided and ready to be taught immediately.”


For Newlin, having these classes available for young carpenters is an essential step in ensuring that one of Northwest Indiana’s most profitable and solid industries continues to remain strong.

“In terms of the most profitable industries in Northwest Indiana, construction and carpentry is second only to the medical industry,” says Newlin. “ We need to make sure that anyone who is interested in beginning a carpentry career is well prepared and given the proper training to let the start on a job without having to worry about not being prepared.”

The courses offered through the IKORCC include a full curriculum that stretches up to four years of classes and training that combines hands on training and certified teachers. For those who want to continue with the carpentry path, those who fully completed the program can enter the Carpentry Apprenticeship Program as a second year apprentice, effectively getting an 18 month jump on the program.

For those who decided not to continue with the carpentry program, or those wanting to pursue a different career path, completing the four year carpentry program can earn you the chance to transfer to Ivy Tech and end up with a degree in applied sciences.

“We do a great job training and preparing carpenters, but we admittedly do not do a good job preparing students for businesses and entrepreneurship,” says Dorsey. “By working with schools like Ivy Tech, we can help students find other successful outlets.”

Both Dorsey and Newlin feel that by having a wide variety of options available within the carpentry field, students who move on to pursue the business end of carpentry can end up starting their own construction businesses and developing future construction companies.

“With Career Connect our primary goal is to make strong workers,” says Dorsey. “We want more career centers and schools to see that this low cost, effective program allows kids who do not see college as an options, is another viable choice to have a successful future.”

“As with any job, it takes true passion and a desire to excel at a job to make it as a carpenter,” says Newlin. “However, for those wanting and willing to be a part of this industry, we’re ready to help you reach your goals.”



Kyle Hovanec is a contributing editor for the LIFE network and specializes in economic development coverage and Northwest Indiana school coverage. Visit Kyle on or Twitter.


Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters
771 Greenwood Springs Drive
Greenwood, IN 46143
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