K-12 Programs

From early childhood collaborations, K-12 initiatives, internship programs and Young Professionals Network (YPN) South Bend, the South Bend Region, through the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, is engaging and connecting businesses to the next generation of talent—to ensure a consistent and continual pipeline of talent.



Student Preparation

A database is being built to capture information on a broad range of professionals and other participants who are interested in student preparation and workforce readiness. Opportunities include speaking to middle and high school classes on career pathways, job shadowing, assisting in mock interviews and resume evaluation and taking part in conversations regarding workforce needs.



Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. The curriculum combines the “how-to-do” with the “why-to-do,” placing an emphasis on the process.

To make the program available to St. Joseph County schools, the Chamber partnered with the United Way of St. Joseph County and generous donors to reach the Project Lead The Way matching grant goal. During the 2014-15 school year, in St. Joseph County, 20 new PLTW programs were established, 180 teachers trained and more than 8,500 students will be impacted by this STEM curriculum. An additional 20 programs are on track to begin during the 2015-16 school year, with teacher training set to begin in June.



Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) is a celebration of modern manufacturing, meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. It addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is and what it isn’t.

Co-produced by various national manufacturing associations, last year marked the first time the concept was brought to this area. The Chamber, in concert with Ivy Tech Community College, worked with the South Bend Community School Corporation and local companies to give high school students the opportunity to see manufacturing firsthand. In its first year, 422 students, 31 educators and 19 manufacturers participated. Manufacturers welcomed students to their facilities for tours and shared what kind of education is necessary to be a part of their team.

MFG DAY 2015 takes place on Friday, October 2. The celebration continues Saturday, October 3 when residents will be treated to South Bend’s rich manufacturing history as part of South Bend 150’s Discovery Series.



The St. Joseph County Chamber’s internSJC program works to increase the quantity and quality of experiential learning in the South Bend Region by encouraging businesses to provide students with real-world experience through internships. Students are encouraged to post their profiles on the state’s internship site, IndianaINTERN.net, while employers are encouraged to post internship opportunities.

In partnership with our local colleges and universities, IndianaINTERN.net and the University of Notre Dame’s enFocus program, the Chamber grew the number of IndianaINTERN.net internship postings in our region by more than 75% between 2012 and 2014.

If your business is interested in hiring an intern, please post the opportunity on IndianaINTERN.net, or if you need help in starting an internship program, contact Kate Lee at 574.400.4030, or by email.



Last summer, the St. Joseph County Chamber, through internSJC, introduced the Summer Community Engagement Program (SCEP) to immerse interns in the community to show them what the region has to offer. In 2014, through the program, a network of 59 participating interns was created. The interns engaged in planned events and weekly “challenges.” When surveyed at the end of the summer, 79% of responding interns said that they were more likely to accept a full-time position with their summer employer as a result of their internship and SCEP experience.

For more information on any of these programs, contact:
Kate Lee, Director of Talent Engagement
574.400.4030 | Email