The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus last week approved a Memorandum of Understanding to build a career and academic pathways that allow EVSC high school students to earn a college credential that is highly valued in the workforce at little or no cost to the student.
In order to better prepare today’s high school student for good-paying jobs with local employers, EVSC and Ivy Tech have created a formal partnership between the college, local business and industry, and the school corporation to effectively create a preK-14 educational system. While students won’t be required to attend two additional years of school to participate in this program, it does ensure that high school students can acquire the education and work skills provided through a rigorous community college education that employers demand.
“Through this partnership, every student will have the chance to earn a certification, certificate or technical certificate in high-skilled, high-demand fields that are highly valued in the workplace,” said Jonathan Weinzapfel, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Evansville. “This will create great career opportunities and build a brighter future for young people to make a decent living, raise a family and contribute back to our community.”
EVSC Superintendent David Smith said, “This is a tangible example of the partnerships we are creating to prepare students for future success. We are committed to doing everything possible to support our students in reaching their goals in life after high school.”
OptIN’s mission is to introduce, explore and prepare EVSC students for all pathways leading to high-wage, high-demand careers paired with student interest, abilities, skills and knowledge. This work, in collaboration with leading community partners, will expand post-secondary options and opportunities for students throughout the EVSC.
By intentionally sequencing dual credit and dual enrollment courses offered respectively by EVSC and Ivy Tech in pathways outlined in EVSC’s OptIN program, a high school student should be able to earn a credential before graduating. EVSC students have the potential to earn college credentials in Advanced Manufacturing, Industrial Technology, Automotive Technology, Visual Communications, and Business Administration. Additional pathways in Healthcare, Information Technology, Logistics, and Transportation are currently being built for students.
This partnership will help to eliminate duplication of course materials and instruction and maximize the use of equipment, facilities, resources, and faculty so that students may complete programs in a cost and time efficient manner. Weinzapfel noted that private sector support of this program will assist in holding students and families harmless financially.
Weinzapfel said in addition, the MOU outlines how Ivy Tech and EVSC will expand educational opportunities also for students already planning on going to college, by creating academic pathways to allow students to earn a post-secondary credential to transfer to other post-secondary institutions in Indiana, though Ivy Tech’s seamless Transfer as a Junior initiative.
“I want to applaud Superintendent David Smith’s vision in creating OptIN and his relentless focus on creating a brighter future for young people in our community,” Weinzapfel said. “This agreement would not have been possible without his foresight and the support of the school board and the OptIN advisory council.”
According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Research & Analysis, 82 percent of the projected job openings through 2024 will require less than a four-year degree. Twenty-five percent of the manufacturing workforce is eligible to retire today; and 45 percent will be eligible to retire by 2024.
These opportunities are expected to begin by Fall 2019. For additional information, please send questions to Optin@evsck12.com.