Pilot Seeks Students 'Hungry For Support'

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Ivy Tech in Bloomington will be in charge of hiring, training and supervising the coaches. Ivy Tech in Bloomington will be in charge of hiring, training and supervising the coaches.

Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. has launched a pilot program to boost graduation rates and degree attainment. Interim President Tina Peterson says "we are not doing a good enough job of helping young people understand that success can look like a lot of different things," including a certification, an associate's degree or a four-year degree. The 11-county organization is partnering with Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington on a graduation and career coaching program in six public school districts.

Peterson tells Inside INdiana Business collaboration and feedback from local industry is key.

It aims to improve graduation rates and prepare students for the journey to college degrees or technical certifications.

ROI says the initiative will support economic and community prosperity in the southwest central Indiana region. The program will begin this fall with five graduation and career coaches working with middle and high school students in Bloomfield School District, Crawford County Community Schools, Loogootee Community Schools, Salem Community Schools, Spencer-Owen Community Schools and Washington Community Schools.

"There are exceptional opportunities in our region for young people to excel in the workforce," Tina Peterson, interim chief executive officer of ROI. "Our regional employers are hungry for qualified job applicants who possess the work ethic and skill set required for quality jobs in life sciences, defense, advanced manufacturing and more. These opportunities are unreachable, however, for students who do not graduate from high school and have not prepared themselves for success after school. If Southwest Central Indiana is to achieve its potential, we need these young people to achieve their potential, too, and we have a plan to help."

The coaches will work with school administrators and counseling teams to support students who are at risk of not earning high school diplomas.  They will create individualized high school completion plans for the students, develop opportunities to participate in work-based learning initiatives and develop postsecondary plans. 

ROI says the coaches will also provide career learning activities for students such as mock interviews, financial literacy training, soft skill training and college or industry visits.

"Currently, only about 32 percent of our region’s population 25+ have attained some form of post-secondary credential," Todd Hurst, director of education and workforce with ROI. "We have a long way to go to achieve the goal of 60 percent post-secondary credentialing set by the State of Indiana and Lumina Foundation. While this data indicates that there is a lot of opportunity to address attainment among the current adult population, it also indicates that we must change the paradigm for the next generation as well to make sure every student has a path toward a well-paying, fulfilling career in our region."

The program is being funded by ROI, while Ivy Tech will recruit, hire and supervise the coaches. Hiring is currently ongoing and you can find more information by clicking here

Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. Interim President Tina Peterson tells Inside INdiana Business collaboration and feedback from local industry is key.
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