Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue University signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday for a program designed to produce more engineers and keep them in Indiana.
The Green2Gold program will launch this fall on Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus, giving students a chance to earn a combined associate’s degree in engineering from Ivy Tech and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue.
Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann says the program could serve as a model that could potentially be replicated in other parts of the state.
Arvind Raman, dean of the Purdue College of Engineering, told Inside INdiana Business the partners want to take advantage of the great talent throughout the state.
“The state and the nation needs many more engineers, not less at this critical time, both for the state and the nation, the best way to make sure the right talent gets into these programs is through partnerships and through pathways and opening up opportunities,” Raman said. “The best talent should have opportunities available to them. That’s the way we think about it.”
The program fills a gap that was left behind by the split of IUPUI’s campus between Purdue and Indiana University. Raman says IUPUI was previously offering engineering courses in Columbus, which had great support from area industrial businesses.
“That was something that the local industries near Columbus really valued,” he said. “There were more opportunities for co-ops. Many of those students stayed in state, and if they engaged so closely with those industries, they were also likely going to get hired. So it was really helping.”
Discussions on how to continue to have a pathway for engineering students led to the collaboration with Ivy Tech and the Green2Gold program.
Students participating in the program will be co-enrolled at both institutions for their first two years.
“They will take courses primarily at Ivy Tech Columbus; there will be some courses taught by Purdue faculty,” said Ellspermann. “We’re still working through exactly which courses and exactly the modalities. “We’ll work closely with Purdue Engineering throughout.”
After earning their associate degree from Ivy Tech and meeting course and GPA requirements for their major, students will then be eligible for direct admission to Purdue’s College of Engineering.
“Our goal is to really set these local students up for a really world-class experience in the engineering program at Purdue for their junior and senior years, and then the hope is keeping that talent in Indiana with the great employers we have,” she said.
Ivy Tech and Purdue say the program will ensure employers in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, among other industries, will have access to highly skilled engineering talent that choose to live and work in Indiana.
“This collaborative initiative will help connect students with the skills employers are seeking in the engineering workforce,” Dr. Tim Frazier, vice president of research and technology at Columbus-based Cummins Inc. said in written remarks. “Cummins supports Ivy Tech and Purdue in Green2Gold and are delighted they are partnering in finding solutions to grow local talent.”
There is also a recruitment factor to the Green2Gold program. Ivy Tech and Purdue said they will work together to recruit K-12 students to the program and collaborate with regional employers to expand internship and co-op opportunities.
“I think it’s really important that our talented Hoosiers have opportunities for these careers, and I think Ivy Tech’s mission has always been to be that first two years of a four year education and in our communities in a very affordable way aligned to the workforce needs of those communities,” said Ellspermann. “So I think the two combined really give our Hoosier students a wonderful opportunity, and [we’re] just very pleased to try this model in Columbus.”