Ivy Tech Community College officials say they have seen large increases in enrollment in its electrical engineering, carpentry and other vocational programs. In the 2008-2009 school year, Ivy Tech enrolled 44 electrical engineering students. This year, that total is up more than 750 percent to more than 330 students.
Electrical Engineering Professor Mark Atkins says the construction sector has also changed in that time to be more technology-driven.
“The installation and service has grown a lot because everything now is computerized and electronic. Your refrigerator has a computer inside of it car etc, your car has several. There’s a lot more jobs for people to service and install electronics stuff and less manufacturing here locally.
Sophomore Christopher Jackson had another career for a decade and he decided to go back to school.
“So I will learn this but it will also prepare me for other parts of engineering that I would like to go into so, not just one but many, mechanical, biomedical engineering all of those branch off into some type of electrical engineering,” Jackson says.
Indiana Regional Council of Carpenters Representative Don Sherry says the economic recovery has led to more activity at construction sites.
“Construction the man hours have been trending upwards for more than 20 months, which is a grateful relief in this industry we’ve seen an uptick in man hours job starts, construction starts, so the employment numbers have risen,” he says.
Sherry says the numbers of workers learning the skilled trades has also increased between 5 percent and 7 percent in recent years.