More Hoosiers are earning post-high school certificates

Indiana is inching closer to its goal of having at least 60% of Hoosiers with education and training beyond high school by 2025, according to a report released last month by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The 2020 Certificates report shows that Indiana has gained 15 percentage points toward education attainment since 2008. Now, 48.5% of working-age adults have credentials beyond a high school diploma, according to The Lumina Foundation. Indiana moved from 38th to 35th in the nation for educational attainment earlier this year.

Overall, the number of Hoosiers earning post-secondary certificates annually has increased 500% since 2009, from 3,390 to 21,628. Those certificates include the College Ready Core, students earning dual credit while in high school, certificates through the Workforce Ready program, and certificates and technical certificates earned at Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University.

State officials say one program that is driving growth is Indiana’s Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant, which, in most cases, covers 100% of tuition costs for workforce education and training in some of the state’s highest-demand industry sectors, including health and sciences, information technology, business services, advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and building and construction.

Since 2017—when the program launched—nearly 18,000 Hoosiers have earned a Workforce Ready Grant-eligible certificate and more than 38,000 are currently enrolled in the program.

“The success of the Workforce Ready Grant has everything to do with Indiana’s targeted approach to funding high-value certificates,” said Teresa Lubbers, chairwoman of the higher education commission, in written comments.

“By focusing state resources to support the sectors and programs we know will have the greatest benefit for individual Hoosiers, in terms of job placement and earning potential, we also ensure the greatest return on investment to drive our economy forward through and far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

Another certificate making up a significant portion of the state’s certificate earners is the Statewide Transfer General Education Core, recently renamed the College Ready Core to target high school students, educators and families.

The certificate is a 30-credit-hour block of college-level, general education coursework that can be transferred from high school to college and among Indiana’s higher education institutes.

In 2019, schools awarded 5,300 of those certificates, including nearly 1,300 to high school students.

Other highlights from the report include:

The most popular certificate in 2019 was business administration, followed by nursing assistant, clinical specialist, electrician and medical-assisting services.

Hoosiers who earn a Workforce Ready Grant certificate see an annual median wage increase of $6,800.

About 11% of high school students earn certificates, including students who participate in career and technical education.

Certificate earners in Indiana are slightly more diverse than associate’s or bachelor’s earners at public colleges in Indiana. Certificate learners are often older than 25. Women earn certificates more often than do men.•

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