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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Local Lawrence County Businessman Helping to Transform Indiana’s Youth Apprenticeship System

LAWRENCE COUNTY - APRIL 9, 2024 - Mark Murphy, PRD, Inc. President, shared his work with CEMETS iLab Indiana*, a cross-sector partnership uniting business, philanthropic, non-profit, government, and K-12 and higher education to address the state’s growing workforce crisis and transform the state’s economy through a robust modern youth apprenticeship system.

" I am super excited about this initiative! It’s remarkable to witness all the stakeholders in Indiana coming together with a shared vision and goal. The fragmented system of the past, where companies and schools operated independently, is now being replaced by a collaborative effort. This synergy promises the best opportunity for success in creating a modern youth apprenticeship program."

By September 2024, CEMETS iLab Indiana will develop a plan for a statewide modern youth apprenticeship system that is employer-led, student-centered and fully integrated across business, education and government. This work-based learning model can make Indiana a competitive option for employers like PRD, Inc. looking to expand existing businesses and entrepreneurs working to launch new businesses.

Mark started his employment in 1996 as a Quality Assurance Manager, received his MBA, and having ultimately worked his way up through the company to President in 2021 stated:

"Having personally participated in, what we called, a co-op program during college, I understand the immense value that apprenticeships offer both students and businesses.

The combination of classroom learning, and practical work experience provides a well-rounded education where the students can see how the things they are learning can be applied in the real world. By establishing a youth apprenticeship program in our state, we

empower high school students to explore career paths and forge connections that align with their interests. Undoubtedly, this will benefit not only the students but also our community and the entire state of Indiana,"

What is Modern Youth Apprenticeship?

 A specific model of apprenticeship that involves a three-year, paid apprenticeship that students begin in 11th grade.

 Students earn a high school diploma, college credit, and an industry credential while earning a paycheck.

Traveling to Switzerland:

This model is based on Switzerland’s system – in which 70% of Swiss youth participate – as well as the CareerWise Colorado model. Mark, along with iLab's Industry Committee peers, will be traveling to Zurich, Switzerland in June to learn more about the Swiss apprenticeship model and meet leaders of the Center on Economics and Management of Education and Training Systems (CEMETS) at ETH Zurich.

You can read more about it in: BizVoice (Indiana Chamber of Commerce Magazine).

A Partnership to Solve Local Workforce Shortages:

Since early 2023, Mark has been involved in an initiative with the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council’s GrowLawrence County Advisory Board, a group that brings together business, education, and community leaders to develop and promote education-to-career pathways that prepare Lawrence County residents for successful careers and provide our workforce with the skilled labor it needs to prosper both today and in the future.

Mark’s knowledge, strengths, and commitment to this valuable work was noticed by the Board’s Facilitator, Michi McClaine. Michi, who is also the Vice President of Talent Development at Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., is a State and Intermediary Partner Member of CEMETS iLab Indiana. She approached Mark with the opportunity to become an Industry Representative for the Advanced Manufacturing Committee and he agreed. Now they are working together for the future advancement of Lawrence County, the 11-county Indiana Uplands Region, and the State of Indiana.

About the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council: The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit, local economic development organization (LEDO) existing to support growth of Lawrence County Businesses including startup support, workforce solutions, and technical assistance which promotes investment that improves the quality of life for our citizens. Learn more at

About the Grow Lawrence County Advisory Board:

The Board came together to

1) Determine and increase adult education training programs, certifications, and employment in Lawrence County;

2) Increase post-secondary education


3) Prepare all high students for careers and 4) Direct a Lawrence County Community Education Coordinator on becoming a resource person for community members, industry partners, and educational partners.

About PRD:

Since PRD, Inc. opened in 1979, this family-owned business has been a tight-tolerance custom injection molder serving global customers. Today it is a leader that runs 68 machines serving Automotive, Industrial, Electronics, Government, and Medical


Learn more at

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI):

The mission of ROI is to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands (Brown,Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties). ROI is growing potential and possibility through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce

redesign, and placemaking strategies. Learn more at

For the latest business news go to or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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