Ivy Tech Community College recently announced a new five-year strategic plan, focusing on completion rates and connecting students with high-wage, high-demand jobs.
The plan has seven main goals, ranging from increasing student completion rates to improving conditions for faculty to engaging with employers and communities. The college plans to award 50,000 certifications, certificates and degrees per year.
The plan aligns with the state’s goal to equip 60 percent of the Hoosier workforce with a post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. Gov. Eric Holcomb addressed the need to help people in the state earn degrees during his State of the State address Tuesday, saying the successful development of a skilled workforce is “the defining issue of the decade.”
“Developing a skilled and ready workforce will demand the greatest focus and collaboration,” he said during his address.
Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said the community college will serve as a key partner in connecting Hoosiers with employers.
“Indiana is home to some of the world’s largest, most innovative corporations – not to mention countless ambitious smaller companies and start-ups,” she said in a press release. “And all of them share a common need: well-trained, skilled workers.
Ellspermann addressed the Ivy Tech Kokomo board Thursday to elaborate on what the plan will mean for campuses across the state.
One of the plan’s main goals focuses on completion of degrees. Currently, just under 8 percent of Ivy Tech students across the state graduate in two years, and 27.8 percent graduate in six years, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. These numbers reflect students graduating from the same campus and degree level in which they enrolled.
These numbers do not reflect students who transfer to a four-year institution after one year at Ivy Tech. The college is currently working with several universities around the state and hopes to see legislation ensuring students can still earn their associate degree when they reach 60 credit hours, even after they’ve transferred.
This, Ellspermann said, will not only help students earn associate degrees, it will help bolster completion numbers for Ivy Tech.
The college will also focus on better advising models, a more seamless transition from high school to college, quality certifications and transfer options, all aimed at helping the college improve recruitment and completion rates.
Ivy Tech Kokomo’s new chancellor, Dean McCurdy, said he’s ready to start expanding existing programs and developing new opportunities to help prepare students for jobs in the state. Some of those existing programs include the Associate Accelerated Program, certifications and transfer pathways.
He added he’s glad to be part of a campus connected to a larger college system.
“We can leverage the expertise and the experiences of a statewide system of colleges,” he said. “We don’t have to reinvent all of those ideas for ourselves. Sometimes we can create things from scratch, take good ideas and adapt them and implement them locally. You get the benefits of an integrated system, which is enormous for students.”
He used transfer pathways as an example of how the integrated system can benefit students. Over the last few years, Ivy Tech has worked on several transfer agreements with universities around the state, meaning students can enter a program and know their credits will transfer to multiple four-year institutions.
And the college’s goal to work with employers and engage with communities will look differently in each community. McCurdy will work with major employers in the Kokomo service area to ensure Kokomo’s programs are working to meet local demand.
“We’re aligning our goals with those of our workforce requirements in the state and at our regional level,” he said. “Not only will our students have an opportunity to graduate on time at a higher rate than ever before, but they’ll be graduating in areas where they’ll be able to get good paying jobs.”