INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (May 25, 2022) – EmployIndy is proud to announce our participation in Accelerate ED: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers, an initiative that seeks to blur the lines between high school and higher education and career learning experiences, allowing students to earn a career-aligned credential or degree by the end of just one year after high school.
Together, with 11 other Accelerate ED grantees representing diverse communities and labor markets, EmployIndy and its partners will focus on redesigning K-12 and higher ed structures; strengthening local schools, higher education, community-based organization, and employer partnerships; aligning on common goals for what experiences and opportunities all students should have in grades 9-13; and identifying innovative ways to increase access to reach all students.
“EmployIndy is thrilled to help lead the design of postsecondary pathways in a student’s 13th year with expanded dual enrollment, early college credit, and career experiences in Marion County through the Accelerate ED grant,” says Marie Mackintosh, EmployIndy’s chief strategy officer. “This design sprint will create a blueprint for our community to advance proven delivery models that provide an established route for a student’s successful transition to a degree or the workforce.”
Research shows that these efforts are especially critical for Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds who have historically had less access to high-quality career-aligned education pathways. In addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact college enrollment and student performance, there is an urgent need to invest in bridges across K-12, higher education, and the workforce to bring high school, college, and career pathways into tighter alignment.
With a $175,000 grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EmployIndy and its partners making up the Indianapolis design team will seek to scale existing initiatives in Marion County to help ensure more students obtain an associate degree by the end of one additional year after high school graduation and are set on a path to future economic opportunity. The aim of the Accelerate ED initiative is to create exemplars that show that with clear commitment, strong partnerships, and aligned support, all students can successfully navigate transitions from high school to college to work.
The design team includes robust representation from K-12 and post-secondary education, local non-profit and industry organizations, and employers, many of whom are already engaged in work to identify the gaps in systems, processes, and structures specific to transparency for students around career pathway; advising for students and parents about career pathways; dual credit articulation; and consistent and deep engagement of employers in career readiness.
Included in the Indianapolis design team are:
- The Indy Chamber
- Ascend Indiana
- Governor’s Workforce Cabinet
- Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis
- Purdue Global
- The Office of Career and Technical Education
- Metropolitan School District of Warren Township (MSD Warren) and Walker Career Center
- Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS)
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
This design team’s service area includes 11 different public school districts with over 100 high schools and 75,000 students. Accelerate ED grantees are participating in a six-month design sprint to learn from each other and find practical solutions to the barriers that currently limit these opportunities from being available to all students. For the purpose of this six-month design sprint, the partners will focus on 12 high schools (with a total of over 5,000 students) within two school districts, IPS and MSD Warren.
“As a partner recipient of the Accelerate ED grant, MSD Warren is eager to strengthen its partnerships across K-12, higher education, local employers, and youth-serving organizations,” says Dr. Steve E. Rodgers, director at Walker Career Center. “From technical assistance to individualized coaching from community-based organizations, the six-month design sprint will help us to ensure that students are heard as we expand programming and that increasing their individual opportunities remains centered in this work.”
Many Central Indiana students currently struggle to advance in their chosen pathway due to credit deficiencies and a lack of certified instructors to teach dual enrollment courses. EmployIndy and its partners will design and expand career pathways in certain key sectors with 13th-year opportunities through existing delivery models such as Ivy Tech’s dual credit program and Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP), and Modern Apprenticeship (MAP)– to increase the number of students successfully persisting through career pathways and earning high-value credentials.
In addition to the development of a 13th-year pathway leading to industry employment, Purdue Global’s involvement in the design team will help illuminate pathways for completion of a bachelor’s degree. The incorporation of Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis and Purdue Global (an online program) includes approximately 64,000 additional post-secondary students as part of the geographic scope. Amazon Web Services is working with Ivy Tech to train and certify 5,000 individuals over the next two years.
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. Our vision is for all Marion County residents to have access to services and training necessary to secure a livable wage and grow in a career that meets employer demand for talent. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 26 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests over $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. Learn more at employindy.org.
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