various students sharing about work-based learning

New Castle Career Center Offers Multiple Options For Work-Based Learning

When it comes to work-based learning, Robin Boucher sees first-hand the benefits for students. As the Program Instructor for Culinary Arts at the New Castle Career Center, Boucher helps students find placements in the communities that support the Career Center. The Culinary Arts 2 program currently has eight students gaining valuable industry skills ranging from cooking to hospitality. Program sites include Primo, Heritage House, Boar’s Head, and Culver’s of Greenfield. 

“It is important to be able to put the skills we implement in the classroom into a true industry experience,” Boucher noted. “The classroom and the industry are vastly different and they need to know how kitchens, restaurants, and hotels run on a daily basis.”

Greg Dickerson, the New Castle Career Center’s Machine Trades Instructor, continually sees a full-circle experience for students and employers. Employers donate time and materials to the Career Center, students get relevant training and get hired by these employers, and then the employers continue to give back to the Center. This is what a community is all about, students, schools and local businesses all benefit from what we all do together.

“Our students have the basic skills they need to go into these facilities and be at a teachable level. I encourage lifelong learning,” Dickerson shared. “When a student has an interest in what they are doing, has a natural ability and an inclination to do the work, and when they are willing to take direction and be teachable, the employer can take that and build the student into what they need.  The students are gaining skill sets that they will use for the remainder of their working careers.”

Some of the work-based learning employers for Machine Trades are Magna Machine, Crown Equipment, Taurus Tool, Hoosier Feeder, Nixon Tool, TOMZ, Spiceland Wood Products, and Service Engineering. 

“They are all begging for these kids,” he expressed. “It’s like finding the right shoe that fits: I try to match the student with the opportunity that is in their best interest and fits their abilities.”

The Welding Program at New Castle Career Center is another place where students experience work-based learning. The two-year program allows students to earn up to five welding certificates in three different welding processes. The class is also an Ivy Tech dual credit class.

“Students enter into this program to gain the skills to finish out a degree in welding or get right into the workforce,” explained Ronnie Perrin, Welding Program Instructor. “Over the last two years, the Career Center has entered 50% of the second-year students into an internship with a number of very gracious companies in the Henry County area.”

The New Castle Career Center Welding Program is currently partnered with Crown, TS-Tech, Hoosier Feeder, and Hy-Flex. These companies provide steel, material, and equipment donations, along with work-based learning opportunities. Perrin sees first-hand the impact of these opportunities.

“Students often come back to class with a better knowledge of the mechanics of various products. They are also– more often than not– better at reading blueprints, and units of measurement including SAE, fractional, and the metric system. They also are more punctual and normally even early to class,” he said.

Perrin summarizes one of the key benefits of work-based learning, which is having multiple adults encouraging each student toward success. “The ability to be graded on your ability, attitude, and workmanship by an Instructor and a corporation quickly instills the importance of a good attitude and pride in your work. Students often come back to the Career Center year after year just to thank us for our part in providing them this opportunity.”

For more information about the work-based learning opportunities available through the New Castle Career Center’s 18 programs, visit