Sullair in Michigan City is finding a partnership with a local high school can successfully yield workers with the right skill sets to fit its needs.
Sullair, a maker of compressed air equipment, has hired its first two graduates from the Michigan City High School Compressed Air Academy. The initiative is a partnership between the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City, Indiana and compressed air companies Sullair, Boss Industries, Dekker Vacuum Technologies, Sullivan-Palatek, Compress Air, Mikropor, Cook Compression, Freezing Systems and Services, LEFCO, Midstates Refrigeration and Supply, and Vanair.
Program graduates Drake Adams and Matthew Ramirez were hired at Sullair for its summer assembly program, which addresses the need for additional assemblers to meet the company’s increased production needs on both the portable and industrial air compressor lines.
Adams, who joined in mid-June, and Ramirez, who joined mid-July, are using what they learned through the two-year academy at Michigan City High School on the job at Sullair.
“The Compressed Air Academy gave me great insight into the things we do at Sullair each day,” said Adams, who works on the firm’s small and medium portables line. “The program was instrumental to me being able to step in and quickly make an impact.”
Adams plans to become an electrician and will begin his apprenticeship this fall. Ramirez will attend Purdue University Northwest this fall to major in civil engineering.
Sullair said its 90-day summer assembly program offers high-paying roles and hands-on experience to high school graduates, college students, and mechanically inclined professionals. It has hired more than 20 employees for the program.
Sullair partnered with Michigan City Area Schools in 2018 to develop the Compressed Air Academy, a first-of-its-kind in the nation. Sullair donated a ShopTek industrial air compressor, which is installed at Michigan City High School.
Throughout the program, high school juniors and seniors learn the ins-and-outs of air compressors, including operation, troubleshooting, and repair.
“The compressed air academy is an important initiative for Sullair,” said Brian Tylisz, senior vice president of sales, Americas for Sullair. “Today’s tight labor market reinforces how critical it is to form these community partnerships and create career pathways while students are still in school.”
Sullair also works closely with the AK Smith Career Center, which works with Michigan City High School.
Josh Cummings, who is enrolled in the modern machine technology program at AK Smith Career Center, is also a part of the Sullair summer assembly program. Cummings, who will graduate in 2022, will complete the summer assembly program in late July.
Adams and Ramirez will complete the program in late August.