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State aims to raise post-secondary education attainment

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Gov. Mike Pence's administration said it wants 60 percent of Indiana’s workforce to have post-secondary education skills or credentials by 2025, Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann said Tuesday.

Ellspermann announced that goal while kicking off the Workforce Development and Education Conference at the Ivy Tech Career and Culinary Center in Indianapolis.

According to a new report by the Indiana Career Council, only 34 percent of Indiana’s workers have the equivalent of a two-year post-secondary degree or more. In a decade, the report says, more than 60 percent of jobs in Indiana will require some form of postsecondary education, which will leave the state with a shortage of 675,000 qualified workers unless progress in educational attainment is is made.

Ellspermann listed five strategies to achieve the goal:

— Work with the General Assembly to form a graduation grant to provide financial incentives to students attending post-secondary institutions.

— Encourage Hoosiers with some college experience to return to school and finish their degrees;

— Provide high school students with the opportunity to earn transferrable post-secondary credits and workforce credentials;

— Ensure two-year colleges implement the best practices for on-time completion rates;

— Increase the usage of prior learning assessments and competency-based education models for adult students.

“Hoosiers are smart people with a lot of learning,” Ellspermann said. “We need to increase the usage of that prior learning so we can give Hoosiers credit for what they already know.”

Ellspermann reiterated Pence's ongoing message that “job creation is Job One.” She said Indiana’s unemployment rate—one of the lowest in the Midwest and under the national average—is proof that the administration’s road map is working.

“The roadmap really becomes a reality,” Ellspermann said, “and a promise made becomes a promise kept.”

A panel of three national experts for workforce development weighed in with different theories to build the workforce in Indiana.

“Most people understand they have to further their skills and competency attainment to become upwardly mobile,” said Mason Bishop, principal at WorkED Consulting. Bishop is a national expert on employment and post-secondary education policy.

Josh Pryor, another panelist, said post-secondary education needs to focus on skills transferable to the workforce to be successful.

“Employers tell us that the skills and abilities they need are not coming out of the college population,” said Pryor, a senior research scientist at Gallup. He said college students need “more internships that actively connect with what the students are learning in the classroom and what they are going to need when they get into an employer situation.”

Pryor said retention should be another focus to build the workforce in Indiana. He said if students leave the state for education, it is “not as likely” they will return to Indiana after graduation.

“If you want your best and your brightest to stay in Indiana,” Pryor said, “use education in Indiana.”

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  • Impressed
    Great response Lee.
  • IVY Tech needs to change
    IVY Tech does not reach the goals stated. The percentage of graduates from IVY Tech is deplorable and the bar needs to be raised with more and better full time Teachers and post secondary education in applicable skill areas such as CNC/Advanced Manufacturing, 3D Manufacturing, Logistics, etc. Vincennes is setting up a campus in Lebanon Indiana and is equally capable to be a community college in its own right. Perhaps if the administration and management at IVY Tech were payed based upon graduation levels and responsibility to students and parents paying the bills, they would be more effective. Numbers of students is not the issue, having a professional apprenticeship program is the crux of this. Education is one thing, applicable education tied directly into internships, corporations for full time positions is another. Actually, companies need to pony up the financial resources to train the students and transition them to their companies. It is not a matter of students randomlytrying to find the skills to find the jobs, it is a responsibility of all Indiana companies to support, provide the training in the form of skilled educated workforce development to transition to their companies. Where is their social responsibility for the state of Indiana citizens. It is one thing to say that there are not enough trained workers, it is another to support and mentor them into their companies, quit complaining about the shortage and take corporate responsibility. Companies in Indiana need to take the lead, not just stand on the sidelines and watch students miss the mark to entry into their companies.

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    1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

    2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

    3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

    4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

    5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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