INDIANAPOLIS – Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden will visit Ivy Tech Community College’s Gary campus today to highlight industry partnerships.
Biden will be joined by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration with the Department of Labor. Dr. Biden will visit Ivy Tech as part of her “Community College to Career” tour, which highlights the unique role community colleges play in developing flexible, highly-skilled 21st century workforce to meet emerging regional business needs.
“Ivy Tech is honored to host Dr. Biden and Assistant Secretary Oates to discuss the important role community colleges play in preparing students for the workforce,” said Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder. “Our partnerships with industry will ensure that our graduates are skilled and qualified to meet employer needs. It is the community college that is going to keep the middle class strong in our country and we look forward to these discussions with Dr. Biden.”
During the visit to Ivy Tech’s Gary campus, Biden and Oates will learn specifically about the “Steelworkers of the Future” program between Ivy Tech and several area employers including ArcelorMittal, BP, NIPSCO and U.S. Steel. The program helps train the companies’ current employees in emerging technologies and prepares future employees for entry into the workforce.
The program is also designed to help lessen the effect of the retiring baby boomer generation, which will leave a hole in the workforce as they transition to retirement in the next five to ten years. Currently, the average worker’s age is around 52 to 59 years old, and the industry is finding it difficult to fill vacant positions.
Ivy Tech has been working with steel companies for a number of years helping to educate college students in the Schools of Advanced Manufacturing and Technology about the opportunities that are now available in the energy, steel, and process control industries. The college collaborates with these employers to provide a rich curriculum that addresses specific skills required for their workplace, so Ivy Tech graduates can walk into industry and obtain a job. In order to achieve this, Ivy Tech adapted the Industrial Technology program after many meetings with representatives and training professionals. The representatives provided their expertise in changing or updating course curriculum so it mirrors curriculum used in training their current employees.
In addition, many high school students are unaware of the tremendous opportunities for careers and good-paying jobs available in industry. Ivy Tech is reaching out to high school students while they are still deciding on a career path and offering them college credit for taking classes in industrial technology.
Students from local high schools come to Ivy Tech’s Industrial Technology program five days a week for two hours per day and receive high school credit and college credit in the industrial programs. These students enter the program in their junior year of high school and can receive up to twenty-seven college credit hours. This allows them to complete an associate degree upon graduation from high school. They receive the same technical training that college students receive — and upon graduation are ready to enter into industry well-trained.
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 200,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.