August 31, 2017 / Workforce development receives boost from Cummins-VU partnership

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VINCENNES, Ind. - The right opportunities can “lead to great things in life,” according to Jenny Bush, executive director of North America Distribution for Cummins Inc. Bush joined Vincennes University and state officials Wednesday to launch a new Technician Apprentice Program (TAP) at VU, an important corporate strategy to ensure a highly trained workforce for the future.

“I am pleased that we have partnered here locally to provide opportunities to young people who have a passion to develop skills to enable their own individual success. This program that we affectionately call TAP does exactly that,” Bush said.

“I want to thank Vincennes University for doing such a phenomenal job in getting us here. The faculty has been engaged tremendously and effectively with Cummins for us to be successful. We started with 13 students this time and we will deliver many, many more for years to come,” Bush said.

VU’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment facility is already equipped with an extensive collection of Cummins diesel engines and equipment that will be used to train Cummins apprentices from across the country. The inaugural group of students began August 21; the second group of 16 apprentice students will start in July 2018 followed by another group of 16 more in October 2018. The program will reach capacity in two-and-a-half years with 90 students per year enrolled at VU.

“At Cummins we care deeply about our people and their development. The Technician Apprentice Program is a prime example of how Cummins partners with local institutions and organizations that share a similar passion for developing local talent that not only benefits our company, but the communities in which we live and work. This program, in particular, is near and dear to my heart. I started my career as an intern apprentice,” Bush said.

Over the course of the four-year program, Cummins apprentices will spend the equivalent of two years at VU where they will learn how to build and maintain Cummins diesel engines. When the students complete the program, they will have earned an associate degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology and will be Cummins-certified in engines, with options to pursue careers in power generation, marine, high horsepower, or service operations.

“We are excited about this partnership,” said VU President Chuck Johnson. “It is exactly what Indiana needs, and the United States needs, to address workforce challenges. It marries a great academic and technical program with a great corporation with great vision. This is really a win-win-win - Indiana wins, the people of Indiana win, and this company and VU wins.”

Blair Milo, secretary of Career Connections and Talent for Indiana, praised both Cummins and VU for working together to address workforce development needs, a key strategy she said the state is emphasizing for economic development.

Vipul Tandon, president of the East Region for Cummins, said the company made a good choice in partnering with VU. “The first time I came to this University was over 12 years ago recruiting for our southern Indiana factories. Ever since then I’ve known VU as a top-notch university,” Tandon said.

The launch of TAP at VU ensures that Cummins “can continue to have access to a pool of talented individuals who are not only devoted to their craft, but also committed to working with our customers to ensure their success,” Bush said.

Cummins North America Sales and Service network, which includes both the U.S. and Canada, is entirely company-owned. “This means that customers have the strength of over 10,000 distribution employees, half of which are technicians. These individuals are at the heart of our company, providing parts, service, and advice on products, from Cummins’ earliest single-cylinder engines to the recently launched QSK 95 engine, a 16V 95 liter engine that holds more power per cylinder than a Dodge Ram pickup,” Bush said.

As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony launching the program, both Cummins and VU officials welcomed the first class of TAP students who come from five states. Cummins’ Central Region students include Illinois residents Cody Corneglio of Normal and Geoff Oneida of Hodgkins; Kansas residents Dakota Tiemann of Kansas City, and Cody Pevler and Lee Dosser of Wichita; and Missouri residents Jesse Villines of Springfield, Jordan Freed of Columbia, and Zaira Cisneros of Garden City. Students from the East Region include Jon Walston of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Ohio residents Josh Ashbrook of Columbus, Richard Bruner of Cleveland, Nic Costa of Hubbard, and Takoda Walton of Cincinnati.

"Vincennes University is excited to enter this partnership with Cummins. It will provide great opportunities for students to enter promising careers for one of the leading companies in the world," said Tim Hale, chair of VU's Diesel Technology program.

The apprentices are full-time Cummins employees, with the company paying all program expenses and providing a complete set of diesel technician tools. The program requires 1,200 VU instructional hours including lab, in-class, and online courses. In addition to the diesel and heavy equipment training, the apprentices will take math, English, communication, foundations of social life, personal financial management, technical writing, first aid, chemistry, and workplace psychology courses.

The program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Program applicants are required to have a high school diploma and meet the minimum college entry grade-point average. Honorably discharged military veterans with equivalent college entry qualifications also are encouraged to apply for the program.

For more information about the Technician Apprenticeship Program at VU, or other diesel programs at VU, contact Tim Hale,, or Larry Stremming, Information is also available at (click on Careers) or contact a local Cummins distributor.


Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute, and service diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions, and electrical power generation systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (USA), Cummins currently employs approximately 55,400 people worldwide and serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,400 dealer locations. Cummins earned $1.39 billion on sales of $17.5 billion in 2016. Press releases can be found on at Follow Cummins on Twitter at and online YouTube at

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as Indianapolis, Lebanon, and Gibson County. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. The Higher Learning Commission accredits VU.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at