NCCC Engineering classes receive micro-grant

The Engineering classes at New Castle Career Center recently were awarded a Micro-Grant from Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-Mac). The program is associated with Purdue University, Vincennes University and IVY Tech Community College. The IN-Mac program was created to help develop competitiveness and sustainability of the manufacturing sector to ensure job growth and economic prosperity.

Requirements of the IN-Mac Grant are to show an in-kind donation of at least 25 percent. The New Castle GREDE stepped up with a donation as well as providing tours of the facility and the use of Engineering Manager Mark Llewellyn and Senior Controls Engineer Matt Perry, who both guided the classes through GREDE and worked to develop a curriculum to help guide the students’ progress as well as worked with the students explaining how programmable logic controllers (PLCs) work.

The Engineering class had already received the PLC trainer and did not have a good isolated and organized work table to learn on. The monies from the IN-Mac grant were used primarily for a new drawered work table with a work surface for the trainer panels. The remaining of the funding will go for new tools and materials in the shop work areas.

GREDE Human Resources Manager Katie Payne arranged all of the contact and flow of information.

“We are very excited to be able to be work so closely with the Engineering Program at New Castle High School,” Payne said. “With the help of the Grant we are really able to support the students with real hands-on learning that will hopefully be used in their next steps – whatever it may be.”

The PLC Trainer will go along with the Pneumatic Trainer in helping students experience the physical mechanics and the programing involved in the world today. Students are able to design a program, set programing on the computer, and create the wiring and plumbing needed to build the device.

Engineering students are presented information on all areas of engineering during the first semester as they complete projects and activities associated with lessons. Some of the projects students design and build are catapults, mouse trap vehicles, toy vehicles, and a marble sorter that sorts marbles by color.

Second-semester students are able to select projects in their own area of interest. Projects in the past have ranged from various racing vehicles, rocketry, aero design, architecture, battle bots, and RC vehicles.

Students learn to safely operate all equipment and tools in the shop as they learn a basic understanding of metalwork, wood working, electrical, pneumatic/hydraulics and, now, PLCs.

Second-year students are also have the opportunity to intern in an area of their interest. Currently, students are working at Double Tap Machinery in Anderson, MAGNA Machine in Hillsboro, and Hoosier Feeder in Knightstown.

“School and local employer partnerships add to our community prosperity. Kudos to all involved!” said Corey Murphy, president and CEO of the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

NCCC Engineering students are working with the City of New Castle on designing and building objects from recycled materials the city has stored. Students have designed desks, end tables made from doors, train engine and coal car from floor beams and joists, and benches made from floor joists and floor boards. The finished items will be on display (and possibly for sale) in the old Coca Cola building during the Downtown Christmas Walk on Dec. 7.

The NCCC Engineering class is taught by David Allen.

– Story by David Allen and shared with permission from The Courier-Times. Read more local stories at