Ivy Tech Community College Drives Improved Outcomes for 21st Century Scholars Despite COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College, in partnership with student success nonprofit InsideTrack, has improved outcomes for its 21st Century Scholars for six straight years, nearly tripling two-year completion rates since the partnership began in 2014. The latest results demonstrate the ongoing initiative to improve persistence and completion rates among first-generation, low-income students participating in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program.

Ivy Tech’s fall-to-fall retention of first time, full time 21st Century Scholars increased to 52.7 percent, up from 50.6 percent last year and a historic average of 36.9 percent prior to InsideTrack partnership. The two-year degree completion rate for this group also rose from 11.8 percent in 2014 to 28.6 percent last year, including a 3.8 point gain in the most recent cycle. 

“The population Ivy Tech serves has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, because of the impact on their livelihoods, their family responsibilities and limitations in their access to technology,” said Cory Clasemann, vice president of student success at Ivy Tech Community College. “The proactive, relationship-based approach to student coaching we’ve put in place with InsideTrack has enabled us to meet students where they are at and support them in these most challenging and uncertain times.”

As part of the program, InsideTrack’s professional coaches work with students to help them develop non-academic skills necessary for higher education success, including time management, self-advocacy and effective communication. Through one-on-one meetings and ongoing digital communication via voice, email and text messaging, coaches help 21st Century Scholars identify long-term goals, connect with campus resources, and create plans to graduate prepared for career success. 

In 2014, Ivy Tech partnered with InsideTrack to develop the 21st Century Scholars Coaching Program through a statewide initiative coordinated by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education with support from the Strada Education Network. Since then, the partnership has been expanded to include coaching for additional student populations and training for Ivy Tech faculty and staff on ways to employ coaching techniques in their day-to-day interactions with students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges that too often derail students, especially those outside the classroom,” said Jessica Hector, associate vice president of partner success at InsideTrack. “Ivy Tech had the foresight years ago to reimagine its student support services—a strategic decision that continues to pay dividends, even through the unprecedented hardships we’ve seen over the past year.”

For more than 20 years, InsideTrack has worked with colleges and universities nationwide to enhance student enrollment, persistence, completion, and career readiness. A nonprofit member of the Strada Education Network, InsideTrack’s seasoned team of professional coaches, trainers, and consultants enables institutions to realize immediate impact as they build for the future.

For those interested in learning more, Mr. Clasemann recently sat down virtually with Ms. Hector to discuss Ivy Tech’s efforts to support students through the pandemic.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree. 

About InsideTrack

InsideTrack is passionate about student success. We partner with institutions and organizations to improve enrollment, persistence, completion and career readiness. Our student support methodology uncovers first hand feedback about student goals and challenges. Through strategic guidance, staff training and student coaching, we help institutions turn this feedback into actionable insights that drive better student outcomes. As a nonprofit member of the Strada Education Network, we offer partners access to a comprehensive range of student success solutions as well as the latest research and insights on student success. We’ve supported more than 2 million students since 2001 and currently serve over 4,000 programs. Visit us at www.insidetrack.org and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

First-ever commercial truck driving curriculum launched; benefits include student loan eligibility, credits toward a logistics degree and internships

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Conexus Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College launched today the nation’s first training program for commercial truck drivers that is covered by federal student loans and enhances a graduate’s employability in the increasingly growing trucking industry. 

The CDL+ curriculum will be offered beginning January 2021 at five Ivy Tech campuses and is currently enrolling students. An additional eight Ivy Tech locations will offer the course later this year. 

Developed by Conexus Indiana in partnership with the Indiana Motor Truck Association (IMTA), Venture Logistics and Ivy Tech, and with an initial grant from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the CDL+ program elevates the quality of training for new commercial truck drivers while eliminating the historic financial barriers to entry. 

This is the first CDL program that is eligible for federal student loans, which required both state and federal legislation and approval from the U.S. Department of Education. The state of Indiana is also working to ensure CDL+ is eligible for Workforce Ready Grants.

“Shortages of truck drivers have been a pervasive problem for years, and only magnified by COVID-19, which has led to significant increases in online shopping,” said Bryce Carpenter, vice presdent of industry engagement for Conexus Indiana. “In response to this ongoing and growing critical need, Conexus Indiana worked with its network of logistics industry leaders to identify the barriers. It became clear quickly that students were held back by the cost of earning a certificate and that companies spent an inordinate amount of time and money training drivers before they could get to work. The CDL+ program addresses all of these obstacles.” 

CDL+ is a 17-credit-hour certificate that can be completed in one semester. Students will have 160 hours of training, which prepares them to become a Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holder. The program includes 121 hours of operating observation, 30 hours of behind-the-wheel skill development, an 8-week internship, an overview of logistics and transportation which includes all types of trucking operations including intermodal processes. There is also a focus on professionalism and customer service.

“Ivy Tech’s core mission is to provide students across the state access to an education that prepares them for a rewarding career,” said Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech. “With insight from our industry partners, we designed a program that removes financial barriers for students, gives them educational credits for future career development and delivers a work-ready workforce for trucking companies. This is both a huge step forward for Hoosiers who want a career in the logistics industry and our industry partners who are eager to hire qualified drivers.” 

Venture Logistics is one of several logistics companies that lent insights and expertise to the development of the curriculum, and is commited to ensuring the success of students who earn a CDL+ certificate. 

“Venture Logistics’ support of the CDL+ program is another great example of how trucking professionals in the State of Indiana work together to promote programs that create opportunities for Hoosiers,” said Greg Eddy, president of Venture Logistics. “By using best practices from the safest companies in the industry, we have helped create curriculum for men and woman to launch a new career. We are proud to contribute to the advancement of the logistics industry, and we are proud to support the individuals who are the back bone of America’s supply chain.”

The American Trucking Association projects the freight volumes are expected to grow 36% over the next decade. Over that same period, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers to keep up with demand. Additionally, freight movement is a critical component of national supply chains with over 70% of the $650 billion in goods that move through Indiana every day being done so on the state’s highways.

About Conexus Indiana
For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public-sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to www.ConexusIndiana.com.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree. 

About the Indiana Motor Truck Association
The Indiana Motor Truck Association is a highly respected association that strives to serve, represent and promote the interests of the trucking industry by enhancing its image, efficiency and productivity through its focus on safety and advocacy.  Founded in 1934, the IMTA has continuously offered safety programs through its Safety & Maintenance Council, including distracted driving education, advocacy at both the state and federal levels, networking opportunities and free consultation for its members.  For additional information, visit www.intrucking.org

Ivy Tech Community College President Joins Presidents Forum Governing Board

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College, has joined the Presidents Forum Governing Board, an organization composed of presidents of higher education institutions, foundations, and academic support organizations that are dedicated to the continuous reinvention of higher education.

The Presidents Forum is an association of 17 college and university presidents and chancellors representing 3 million students. The nonprofit facilitates innovative projects leading to the adoption of ideas, practices, and actions to transform higher education. Currently, the Presidents Forum is conducting a series of collaborative meetings with higher education institutions and stakeholders to address the challenges and opportunities of developing an agile and resilient workforce for the future of work – with a focus on those with the greatest need.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Governing Board,” said Ellspermann. “The opportunity for the Presidents Forum to advocate for and model innovation in higher education for the benefit of Americans, employers, and our nation is immense. I look forward to adding value to this incredibly talented team.”

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree. 

About the Presidents Forum
The Presidents Forum was established in 2002 as a collaborative convening body of accredited institutions and national organizations that embrace the power and potential to serve 21st-century students. The Presidents Forum advances innovative practice and excellence by convening institutions’ leaders and stakeholders to share their knowledge, learn from others’ best practices, and frame recommendations for national policy. While historically Forum members have primarily been institutions serving adult learners, membership now reflects the full spectrum of higher education institutions, especially as technology transforms access and quality of post-secondary education.