Rep. Brooks at Purdue Polytechnic

Jeff Heiking, a mechanical engineering professor with Purdue, explains to U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks how they use a SMC training HAS-200 system in their mechatronics lab during her tour of the Purdue Polytechnic facility in April.

ANDERSON — U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks described her first visit to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute as impressive in terms of the facility and the programs being offered in Anderson.

Brooks, R-5th District, took a tour of the academic area and the Maker Space facilities that will help foster start-up companies.

“It’s a world-class education facility where students of all ages are going to have the opportunity to learn incredible skills,” she said. “They can then walk through the hallway and look for jobs with the growing companies that are here.”

Brooks said it is a really beautiful facility and the kind of place where people will want to come and learn.

“They’ve got incredible educators who have been in industry and know what it’s like to find a job,” said. “They’re taking their knowledge and working with kids from sixth grade to high school, get them interested in learning.”

The internships being offered with the schools will be the feeder system to make sure this Purdue campus grows, Brooks said.

“The new companies in this region are so dynamic that the region is very fortunate this facility is here,” she said.

During the tour Corey Sharp, director of Purdue University College of Technology at Anderson, said the center is working with the Anderson Township Trustee Girls and Boys Club by offering a five-week program in woodworking and electronics.

“It’s part of the after-school program for students in grades 6 through 12,” Sharp said. “The students had to write an essay while applying to outline what they hoped to accomplish through the program.”

Sharp said funding from the Ball Brothers Foundation helped purchase the necessary equipment.

Brooks was shown the 3D printer lab, mechanical engineering and metal working facilities.

Jeff Heiking, a mechanical engineering professor with Purdue University, said the students are manufacturing parts in the 3D lab that will be used in a robotic gardening program being developed with Anderson Preparatory Academy.

Stephen Ansuini, of the Center for Employee Development, said he moved his lean manufacturing equipment from Michigan to Anderson.

He said there are only five training centers open to the public in the United States with one in Georgia and three near Charlotte.

“We strive for stabilization and to reduce costs,” Ansuini said. “We want to make the companies more competitive in the world markets.”

Brooks said private sector companies from around the U.S. can send employees to Anderson for training.

Sharp said mechanical engineering students use the training system to learn lean manufacturing.

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.