EVSC to Address Teacher Shortage by Offering Employees a Free Community College Education

achieve-your-degreeThe Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) will begin offering an opportunity for its employees seeking a teacher’s license to earn certification and an Associate Degree — at no cost to the employee – through the Achieve Your Degree™ program at Ivy Tech Community College Southwest. Officials announced the unique partnership today (May 9, 2016) at a news conference at the EVSC.

“One of EVSC’s core values is ‘Great People Matter.’ As an educational institution we know that investing in the growth and development of our great people will not only help our students but our community as a whole,” said David Smith, EVSC superintendent. “By creating opportunities for our current employees to go back to school and earn their degree, we are developing great talent already in our classrooms to help educate the next generation of students.  We are proud of this partnership with Ivy Tech where employees can continue their education right here in Evansville.”

At this time, EVSC employees can select from two Associate Degree pathways:  elementary education or early childhood education.  Ivy Tech has created career development certificates in each program that will be recognized by EVSC for advancement opportunities and provide valuable professional development for employees wishing to enhance their classroom knowledge and skills.  The credits earned for the EVSC certificates apply directly to an Associate degree at Ivy Tech. Following successful completion of an Associate Degree, the 60 credits that are earned transfer to the University of Southern Indiana so the employee can complete a Bachelor’s Degree and earn a teaching license.  The University of Evansville is also now completing arrangements to participate, as well.

Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of Ivy Tech, said that research has shown that financial considerations are the biggest obstacle that keeps individuals from earning a college degree. “While companies and organizations may have funding or reimbursement plans in place, employees still have to pay significant sums of money up front to cover their costs, then wait several months to be paid back.  This is a huge hurdle that keeps many people from going back to college and completing their degree,” Weinzapfel said. “Through Achieve Your Degree™, employees will pay no funds up front. We applaud Dr. Smith and his leadership team for their foresight to help employees realize their dreams and advance their careers. With the partnership of EVSC, Ivy Tech, UE, and USI – we can work together to help stem the ongoing teacher shortage in Indiana.”

Eligible employees will take classes as part of a cohort. EVSC mentors will guide and support employees accepted into the program as they work toward their certificate and degree. The program will be a combination of on-campus and online classes with classes beginning in fall of 2016.

Information sessions are planned in June for interested employees.

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