Commentary: Earned Skills Will Jumpstart Our Community’s Economy 


Earned Skills Will Jumpstart Our Community’s Economy

By Daniela Vidal, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville

You see it every day in the news, or you are hearing it from your children at residential campuses across the nation – the four-year college experience this year is not what it once was. Getting together after class for a study session or a coffee; walking down the dorm halls where doors are open and dropping in on your neighbors; social events and sporting events – all are largely gone. Many, if not most classes, are meeting virtually. The classroom has largely become the student’s dorm room or apartment.

I understand it. We do what we need to do to keep everyone safe. I became chancellor a week before our Ivy Tech Community College campus went home to quarantine in March. My first foray into leading a college was helping it pivot every spring class into a virtual realm.

Those safety precautions taken early, and continuing in even greater detail today – are what are allowing Ivy Tech to have classes in-person, blended virtual/in-person and with maximum flexibility, the Learn Anywhere model. We need our colleges and universities to stay safe and open because our economy needs our graduates!

As our community faces a rapid shift in employment opportunities and resources become more scarce, it presents a double conundrum to those in need…new high-wage jobs require the acquisition of higher-level skills but many don’t currently have the resources to be able to afford the education to obtain those skills.

This is why Ivy Tech is a great answer to how we give individuals the skills they need quickly, and affordably, and get them into the workforce to jumpstart our economy. Our certificates, technical certificates and associate degrees make Ivy Tech a great option as students navigate their educational experience under COVID; and our flexibility with class delivery is making this a reality.

We also now offer a majority of our courses in an eight-week term. Not only do students complete faster, but new students can also start every eight weeks. Our next term begins on October 26.

It also begs us to ask the question of how our colleges and universities can serve our communities better. Now, more than ever, we need to find collaborative models among educational institutions, employers, and government entities to make changes that will accelerate the learning curve and increase affordability. Watch for an exciting local announcement about this soon!

We have also been blessed to be able to offer a wide variety of courses where qualifying individuals can earn a certificate or technical certificate at no cost, through the Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant. And, we also have opportunities for students attending other colleges, to be a guest student here and earn credits to transfer to their home institution.

Employers are seeking skilled workers and there are tremendous career opportunities available now. Within every great challenge are even greater opportunities, and Ivy Tech can help our employers get the skilled staff they need.

Interested individuals don’t need to wait. Starting at Ivy Tech in October is the first step toward a brighter future.




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