WATCH – Conexus Student Industries

INDIANAPOLIS (March 8, 2023) – Conexus Indiana announced today the official launch of Conexus Student Industries, a statewide network of 15 high schools dedicated to developing advanced manufacturing and logistics talent through School-based Enterprises (SBEs).

SBEs are student-run and -operated businesses that design, manufacture and commercialize products or services in a school setting. The Conexus Student Industries network connects students, teachers and industry leaders in creative ways to strengthen existing SBE programs and provide tools for new program development and program enhancement.

“Conexus Indiana’s mission is to strengthen Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, and we do that, in part, by identifying and bolstering successful talent development programs,” said Brad Rhorer, COO and chief talent officer at Conexus Indiana. “School-based Enterprises are proven programs that inspire high school students to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics, give them the hands-on experience to succeed in these careers and match local talent to industry needs.”

While Indiana schools have operated SBEs for decades, those operations have taken on new levels of sophistication and purpose in recent years to better prepare students for increasingly high-tech careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics. What commonly has featured small operations, hand-made items and student-to-student sales, has grown to include schools that, in some cases, operate sophisticated production facilities with clients that include big manufacturers, municipalities and other businesses. Industry partners have facilitated this expansion by contributing equipment, expertise, mentorship, financial support and more to SBEs.

To accelerate this evolution, Conexus Indiana launched the Conexus Student Industries network to provide a strong platform for schools to learn and share best practices and identify and secure funding for long-term growth. The network also involves advanced manufacturing and logistics leaders who share industry needs with teachers and students while investing in a talent pipeline of high school students ready for additional education or careers in the advanced manufacturing and logistics fields.

“Indiana is quickly becoming a leader in the School-based Enterprises realm,” said Kyle Marshall, senior director of K-16 education at Conexus Indiana. “No other state is putting as much energy and expertise into supporting and connecting SBEs and engaging the business sector in their work. This is an effort that will pay dividends well into the future.”

Conexus Student Industries delivers unique programming and services to schools that join the network as Conexus Student Industries Council members, including:

  • Recurring Student Industries Council meetings. These meetings bring together teachers and students at Indiana SBEs to share best practices, interact with industry partners and learn about supplemental resources for effective SBE operations.
  • Conexus Student Industries Case Competition. The case competition is an annual virtual event with the inaugural competition scheduled for April 19, 2023. Students are challenged to demonstrate their skills in operating a student-run business. The case competition will be judged by a panel of industry leaders with cash awards granted to the top three schools in the competition.
  • Support grants. Annual support grants will be awardedto qualifying student-run businesses and will support wages for summer operations, the purchase of enterprise equipment or raw materials, the creation of marketing materials and more.

The inaugural group of Conexus Student Industries Council partners includes:

  • Brown County High School, Eagle Manufacturing, Nashville
  • Eastbrook High School, Eastbrook Engineering and Manufacturing Solutions, Marion
  • George Washington High School, Continental Manufacturing, Indianapolis
  • Heartland Career Center, Heartland Manufacturing, Wabash
  • Lincoln High School, Golden Eagle Industries, Cambridge City
  • Loogootee High School, Lion Manufacturing, Loogootee
  • Madison Consolidated High School, Cub Industries, Madison
  • Mitchell High School, Cement City Designs, Mitchell
  • Northeast Dubois High School, Jeep Manufacturing, Dubois
  • Orleans High School, Bulldog Manufacturing, Orleans
  • Owen Valley High School, Patriot Manufacturing, Spencer
  • Perry Central High School, Commodore Manufacturing, Leopold
  • Seymour High School, Owl Manufacturing, Seymour
  • West Noble Schools, Turning Point Coffee, Ligonier
  • White River Valley High School, Wolverine Enterprises, Switz City

Schools interested in learning more about Conexus Student Industries or industry leaders looking to support their local SBE should contact Nikki Jagow at or go to

About Conexus Indiana
For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to innovate, invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, visit