Earlier this year, Ivy Tech Community College partnered with La Porte County employers and economic development corporations to introduce new classes to the community college’s curriculum. With a focus on expanding the local workforce and meeting local industry needs, these classes offer students the knowledge and experience needed in a variety of industries, which contributes to the economic and cultural growth of La Porte County.
“Our goal is to provide the best education for individuals to go out into high-demand and high-paying fields,” said Marcos Rodriquez, Site Director at Ivy Tech. “With a large variety of industries in Northwest Indiana and more employers expanding into the area, we want to make sure we are preparing students and we have the right programming in place so that there is a great workforce base in La Porte and Porter Counties.”
Ivy Tech has partnered with employers and career centers in La Porte County to offer new industry-focused courses including welding, electrical, healthcare, culinary, mechanical, and other industrial areas of study. In La Porte, Ivy Tech students can find Industrial Technology – Electrical certificate courses at Ivy Tech’s La Porte site on Happiness Way (Whirlpool Dr.).
“Based on conversations with employers like American Licorice, those skills have been a common need in the local workforce,” Rodriquez said.
Another partnership with DriveCo CDL Learning Center out of the same facility offers students the opportunity to receive their Class-A CDLs to drive commercial trucks, while the CompressAir Academy at the local high schools now offers students who complete the program the opportunity to continue those efforts at the college-level.
On the Michigan City side of La Porte County, the partnership with A.K. Smith Career Center provides welding classes among other courses to meet demand in an industrial and welding-focused community like Michigan City.
“With partnerships like American Licorice Company, American RENOLIT, A.K. Smith, and the local economic development entities, it’s crucial that we are delivering the right programming that makes sense in the community,” Rodriquez said.
Ivy Tech continues to address not only local workforce needs but also access to job resources and readiness with its new Career Coaching and Employer Connections (CCEC) department. Patti Shields, Executive Director for CCEC, knows the importance of not only having the necessary skills and experience when entering the workforce but also being career-ready.
“We have found a more intentional and hands-on approach to prepare students to go out into the workforce,” Shields said. “Every student will the opportunity to receive support for resumes, solid interview skills, those soft employability skills, and connections with employers.”
CCEC bridges the gap between finishing school and entering the workforce by providing career coaching, networking, and employer connections. Career coaches will work with students to develop a career portfolio, which includes a resume, mock interviews, elevator pitches, and more.
“We also have career experience specialists who will be working with both students and employers to create Work and Learn Experiences or internships,” Shields said. “We also have employer consultants who will work with employers to find out what their needs are, what job postings they have, and what training they need in order to effectively connect them with our students.”
“We’ve had something similar to this department in the past, but the new CCEC is a much more intentional way of connecting employers and students,” she continued.
Express Enrollment Week for the spring semester is fast approaching, and Ivy Tech wants students to take advantage of this special opportunity. From January 5 to 8, students can virtually meet with an advisor and get assistance with everything from the application to enrolling in classes.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to complete the steps in a shorter time frame than normal,” said Kimmie LaBarge, Director of Marketing and Communications at Ivy Tech. “It will be virtual, but if students need access to Wi-Fi, a computer, or a webcam, they can come to campus and access the equipment in a safe environment while still meeting with someone virtually.”
Students must RSVP for the Express Enrollment Week. Express Enrollment Week will take place daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 5 to Friday, January 8. RSVP for the event today online at https://www.ivytech.edu/18794.html.
For information about COVID-19 and the steps Ivy Tech is taking to ensure student and faculty safety, visit https://www.ivytech.edu/coronavirus.html.