Ivy Tech Community College Announces EDA Grant to Renovate Space for Precision Ag Program

Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley announced on Wednesday that it has received a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to retrofit a building to be used for its Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology Center of Excellence.

The renovation will take place in an Ivy Tech warehouse area in the rear of the former Doughmaker’s Building at the southern Vigo County Industrial Park. “When the building was acquired in 2012 a portion of the building was identified for potential growth for the right programs to align with workforce needs,” said Chancellor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “Both Precision Ag and Diesel Heavy Truck Technology, will be housed in this area and will fill a workforce gap in Indiana.”

“This EDA grant moves us one step closer to making this dedicated space a reality for a successful regionally-focused Precision Ag and Diesel workforce training initiative,” Weinzapfel added.

Ivy Tech gained approval in 2015 from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to begin offering new degree programs to complement current offerings in agriculture, electronics, computer technology and diesel technology programs.

The EDA grant will help fund renovations to provide training in geospatial technology related to crop planting, fertilization, harvesting, and other farming operations.  “With these skills, the project will strengthen Indiana’s position as a global leader in workforce development, job creation and workplace advancement for the agriculture industry,” Weinzapfel said.

The need for new agriculture training is great. Indiana is seeing an increase in the average age of its farm workers from 49 in 1950 to now approaching the age of 60. U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that farm output over roughly that same period of time increased 2.7 times, Weinzapfel said. The aging workforce forecasts the need for an influx of workers to take over both traditional and emerging roles in the sector.

“One area in agriculture that this is occurring is in geospatial technology to drive efficiencies in crop planting, fertilizing and harvesting. It is estimated that 95 percent of current farm implement equipment sold today comes with GPS/GIS pre-loaded from the manufacturer,” said David Will, dean of the School of Technology. “But, all members of the agriculture sector are not equipped to utilize this new technology.”

The value of GPS/GIS equipment allows for more efficient operation, optimal planting, harvesting and improved productivity, Will added. “For example, under traditional land management practices, a farmer would apply fertilizer to the soil at a pre-determined volume suitable for the entire field,” he said. “With GPS/GIS data and technology, precision application decisions can be made, acre by acre, resulting in less fertilizer being applied, and reducing the potential for fertilizer run-off into local streams and rivers.”

While Precision Ag is a new enough field to not have codes tied to annual salary earned, the field is tied to several different employment categories in agriculture including farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse (median salary of $22,430); agricultural equipment operators ($33,520); and farm equipment mechanics and service technicians, which is most closely related to the job training of precision agriculture ($36,310).

Diesel Technology career opportunities, also are plentiful in the Wabash Valley. According to Ivy Tech’s EMSI data, there are 499 projected annual job openings in the field of Automotive Technology in Indiana, which includes the specialized field of Diesel Technology.

Darin Kohlmeyer, chair of the Precision Ag program explained that the degree program has three pathways – each leading to a specific field in Precision Agriculture “Students will have the opportunity to earn three different 34 credit hour technical certificates – Agriculture Equipment Service Technician, Precision Agriculture Specialist, and Precision Agriculture Technician – all with proven job opportunities in the region. Each will also lead directly to an Associate of Applied Science degree,” he said.

A 34-credit hour technical certificate in Diesel Technology can also be earned on the way to acquiring an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology.

“The time is right for Ivy Tech Community College to lead this effort,” said Ivy Tech Wabash Valley Regional Board Chair Lori Danielson. “This federal funding will accelerate Ivy Tech’s innovative educational programs and create opportunities for the agriculture industry throughout the region and state.  We are thankful to the EDA for this funding.”

For information about the Precision Agriculture Program at Ivy Tech Wabash Valley go to https://www.ivytech.edu/precision-agriculture. Diesel Technology can be found at: www.ivytech.edu/automotive-technology.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system.  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.

Ivy Tech Community College student organization receives International Awards

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community Colleges’ Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) organization was recently awarded 20 international awards at the annual Phi Theta Kappa International Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Ivy Tech chapters from across the state of Indiana gathered at the Catalyst 2017 Phi Theta Kappa annual international convention. Keynote speakers included television personality Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Mythbusters co-presenter Jamie Hyneman. Attendees had the opportunity to compete in scholar bowls, speech competitions and educational forums.

“Phi Theta Kappa’s international awards represent the pinnacle of student and chapter achievement within PTK. These awards are a testament to the breadth of Phi Theta Kappa member activity that occurs each and every day at our Ivy Tech campuses. I am proud of their accomplishments and grateful to what they give back to our campuses and communities,” said Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor and Indiana Ambassador to Phi Theta Kappa.

The 20 international awards received by Ivy Tech at the awards gala include:

  • Distinguished Regional Officer Teams– Moriah Mercer, Kokomo Campus; Carrie Sherer, Logansport Campus; Anita Smith, Richmond Campus; Brian Colburn, Indianapolis Campus; and Elizabeth Humphrey, Logansport Campus
  • Distinguished Regional Officers– Carrie Sherer, Logansport Campus
  • Distinguished Chapter Officer Award– Brian Colburn, Indianapolis Campus
  • Alumni Award of Appreciation– Gloria Turner, Indianapolis Campus
  • Distinguished Advisor Award – Jennifer Morton, Lawrenceburg Campus
  • Continued Excellence Award for Advisors– Leo Studach, Logansport Campus
  • Honors Case Study Award, Honorable Mention– Beta Phi Tau, Marion Campus
  • Distinguished College Project Award– Alpha Phi Eta, Terre Haute Campus; Alpha Phi Pi, Kokomo Campus; Beta Gamma Zeta, Logansport Campus
  • Distinguished Honors in Action Award – Alpha Phi Pi, Kokomo Campus; Alpha Sigma Kappa, Lafayette Campus
  • Distinguished Honors in Action Theme Awards– Alpha Phi Pi, Kokomo Campus; Alpha Sigma Kappa, Lafayette Campus; and Beta Gamma Zeta, Logansport Campus
  • Distinguished Chapter Awards– Alpha Phi Pi, Kokomo Campus; Alpha Sigma Kappa, Lafayette Campus; Beta Gamma Zeta, Logansport Campus
  • Top 100 Chapters– Alpha Phi Eta, Terre Haute Campus; Alpha Phi Pi, Kokomo Campus; Alpha Sigma Kappa, Lafayette Campus; Beta Gamma Zeta, Logansport Campus
  • Most Distinguished Chapter Finalists– Beta Gamma Zeta, Logansport Campus

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest and most prestigious honor society recognizing students pursuing two-year degrees. In its 99 year history, Phi Theta Kappa has inducted over 3 million members and is comprised of nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations. Through academic recognition and providing scholarship opportunities for students receiving two year degrees, the organization instills the value of service to college and community while also providing programming to help students develop leadership and communication skills.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. 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.

Ivy Tech Community College offers free IT certificate program for students

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College is launching a free Information Technology certificate program for students in Valparaiso, Evansville, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne for the summer of 2017. The CompTIA A+ program will give qualifying students a chance to learn technical skills such as troubleshooting, networking and security across a variety of devices to set the stage for an IT career.

CompTIA A+ is a certification that is trusted by employers in the IT industry and matches professional, technical skills with communication skills. The CompTIA A+ program also provides assistance to students, such as transportation costs and childcare, to ensure students have the ability to attend class and complete the certificate program. Students will have the opportunity to enter the workforce in two semesters – and could enter the field in roles such as Technical Support Specialists, Field Service Technicians, IT Support Technicians or Administrators. To qualify, students must be between the ages of 17-29 and be underemployed, unemployed or disadvantaged. Disadvantaged students would be those who may not have the financial means to attend a higher learning institution. In addition, veterans of any age can qualify.

“The CompTIA A+ is a marketable industry certification, which is held by individuals who are constantly making efforts to advance in the IT industry,” says Matt Etchison, Vice President for Information Technology at Ivy Tech Community College. “We look forward to helping deserving students get the opportunity to get their foot in the door in the IT industry and better their lives.”

Through partnerships with Indiana employers, the CompTIA A+ program gives students the opportunity to begin an eight-week internship halfway through the certificate program, gaining real-world experience as they learn in a classroom. The program also provides students with preparation to take the CompTIA A+ certification and will give the participants training in soft skills.

The CompTIA A+ program is funded by part of the $2.6 million grant awarded to Ivy Tech from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s TechHire Partnerships program – allowing Ivy Tech to offer short-term technical training and job coaching throughout the state of Indiana. The grant will allow Ivy Tech to train 330 students over four years. For the cities in which the program will be hosted in 32,773 IT jobs and 16,393 manufacturing jobs are expected by 2020, paying an average wage of $28.67 per hour.

“The development of a program that allows us to utilize the TechHire grant and serve 330 students is one that we are excited to implement here at Ivy Tech. We are an institution that is on the forefront of the IT industry and are producing graduates that can work at innovative companies. Implementing programs such as this only strengthens our position in the industry,” says Etchison.

Etchison visited a Summit at the White House to celebrate TechHire, a campaign by President Obama to expand local tech sectors by building tech talent pipelines in communities across the country. The event brought together 100 talented technologists, innovators and community leaders to celebrate the success of TechHire to date, share best practices from some of the TechHire cities, and discuss the industry Tech Inclusion Pledge and recently published grid of best practices to achieve results.

For more information regarding the program, visit ivytech.edu/aplus.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. 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.