Onaway, MI — The Economic Generator Network has recognized the Industrial Arts Institute
(IAI) with the Outstanding Contributor Award for their excellence in welding education and
workforce development. The award, which comes with a $15,000 prize, was given to IAI’s Board
of Directors and Tamara Ward, Executive Director, by Tom Berriman on June 13, 2023.
“It was an honor to receive this award today”, said Executive Director Tamara Ward. “We are
proud to offer a unique program that prepares our students for the high-demand skilled trades
industry in our region and beyond”.
The Industrial Arts Institute was selected as this year’s recipient because of their innovative
approach to training welders, creating a pipeline of skilled workers for the manufacturing sector,
and facilitating job placement for their graduates. Students at IAI learn not only welding
techniques, but also soft skills, cultural awareness, and critical thinking that are essential for
success in the workplace. The Industrial Arts Institute has also collaborated with school districts
to provide over 300 students ages 14 to 18 with opportunities to attend summer welding camps
and academies, with more than 100 additional spots planned for the summer of 2023. These
initiatives show the commitment IAI has to inspiring future generations to pursue careers in
“We are interested in being a part of diversifying or finding opportunity to provide training in a
lot of different areas”, Ward said. “So building that toolbox full of skill sets for individuals who
can then head out to the industry and not only chase after employment, but chase after a career”.
For more information about the Industrial Arts Institute visit iaiworks.com or call 989-733-4369.
The Outstanding Contributor Award (OCA) is an award presented by the Economic Generator
Network (EGN) to an individual, group of individuals or organization that makes significant
contributions to building the foundation for economic growth in Northern Michigan. The OCA
not only recognizes the recipient(s) but also comes with a cash award of $15,000 to be used as
the recipient wishes.
The EGN (Economic Generator Network Inc.) is a non-profit organization made up of Northeast
Michigan citizens and organizations who have a shared goal of continually improving the
economic vitality of Northeast Michigan citizens by solving product-related problems for people
around the world.