Hillenbrand's New Global Workforce Initiative Will Exchange Students Between Batesville, Germany

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 8:42 AM

By Hillenbrand Inc., news release

The partnership between Hillenbrand, subsidiary Coperion, Batesville High School, and a German secondary school will provide students an opportunity to learn about global business challenges.

(Batesville, Ind.) - Hillenbrand, Inc. is launching a first-of-its-kind workforce initiative designed to attract and retain talented employees on a global scale. In partnership with Coperion, its subsidiary operating company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, Hillenbrand is looking to this unique program to help bridge the international gap in its workforce.

German unemployment rates hover at 2%; in Batesville, Ind. the rate is around 3%. With two very low unemployment rates in key Hillenbrand locations, the company, like many others, is challenged to think differently about how it attracts and retains employees.

To address changing workforce demographics, the company is partnering with Batesville High School near Hillenbrand’s headquarters in Batesville, Ind. and Karl Maybach Gymnasium in Friedrichshafen, Germany, which is near Coperion’s manufacturing site in Weingarten. The two schools are connected in an exchange through the German American Partnership Program (GAPP).

“As companies continue to grow and compete for talent in the current workforce environment, we have to become an employer of choice and create a compelling value proposition,” said Kim Ryan, SVP Hillenbrand/president, Coperion. “We strive to be a great company and we’re willing to invest in our future workforce and our capability to create an impactful experience for these students.”

Students from both schools are getting a rare opportunity to select and tackle real-world business challenges associated with meeting one or more of the seventeen United Nations Global Compact Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students are working across cultures to research global challenges such as climate, water and food crises, and inequality under the UN’s theme of Making Global Goals Local.

Students in both countries will have the chance to talk with business leaders and tour Coperion facilities in Stuttgart and Weingarten, gain a better understanding of the company and its goals and objectives, and then determine how the SDG they’ve chosen to address translates into action for the company.

“Having partners like Hillenbrand and Coperion supporting us in this exchange program is exciting for me and certainly for the students,” said Andrew Cambron, German Teacher, Batesville High School. “We wanted to build meaningful relationships for our students and develop programming that helps them define a career path and learn how their actions can make a real difference in the world.”

This multi-year program and enhanced educational opportunities are part of Hillenbrand’s workforce initiative, which fosters student interest and experiences in global manufacturing environments and exposes kids to potential career opportunities.

“The program opens up an avenue for us to get a different perspective on the workforce that we need to attract in the next five to ten years,” said Glennis Williams, SVP and chief human resource officer, Hillenbrand. “We can develop a pipeline of employees if we can find more opportunities to reach out at a young age and get people excited about the fact that manufacturing means something more than running a piece of machinery.”

Students from both schools have been working together since the spring. In July, 25 students from Batesville will travel to Friedrichshafen to meet their counterparts in person. The students will continue working in the project-based-learning environment at Karl Maybach and at Coperion. In 2020, students from Germany will travel to Batesville to continue working on the program.

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