'Indy Achieves' Seeks to Expand Educational Opportunities

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has launched an initiative aimed at improving post-secondary education opportunities for residents. The Indy Achieves program, a partnership among the city, EmployIndy, Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUI, is the result of recommendations from the Indianapolis Promise Task Force, which Hogsett created in 2017 to identify ways to make post-secondary education more accessible.

The program is slated to begin in the fall of 2019. Hogsett says more than 60 percent of jobs in Indiana require a post-secondary degree or credential but only 42 percent of Indy residents currently possess one. The goal of Indy Achieves is to bring that number up to 65 percent by 2027.

The mayor's office says Indy Achieves will have three major responsibilities: 

  • Administer the Indy Promise scholarship, which will guarantee free tuition, books, and fees for every Marion County 21st Century Scholar recipient beginning in 2019
  • Administer the Indy Achieves Completion Grant, which is expected to provide more than $1 million a year in grants to Marion County students of all ages who are pursuing high-demand degree programs
  • Marshal private and philanthropic resources to provide wraparound services for Marion County residents pursuing a post-secondary degree, including increased participation in state and federal scholarship programs, on time FAFSA completion, and postgraduate connection to employment through groups such as EmployIndy and Ascend.

All of the benefits will be available to Marion County residents attending Ivy Tech in Indy or IUPUI. 

Indy Achieves will operate under the EmployIndy umbrella. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, EmployIndy Chief Executive Officer Angela Carr Klitzsch said the program matches with her organization's mission to match supply and demand when it comes to the workforce.

"We're trying to encourage young people to continue on in their education," she said. "It's a necessary precursor for you to take advantage of the jobs in this local market and be successful, but we also want to make sure that they're studying in fields that really align with employer need because that's an economic development driver for our city as well."

The city says Indy Achieves is expected to have a staff of nearly a dozen people once it is fully operational. Officials are searching for an executive director for the program as well. Indy Achieves will be funded through an annual appropriation from the city budget as well as financial agreements from Ivy Tech and IUPUI.

Indianapolis City-County Councilor Blake Johnson, who also serves as vice president of strategy, communications and planning for Indianapolis-based Complete College America, says Indy Achieves makes a promise to students that they can attend high education.

"We're going to keep that promise by working with institutions to ensure they're doing what's necessary to get students through the door, that we're providing mentors to help students meet those big milestones that lead to graduation, and at the other end, we're going to make sure that there are pathways that exist into high-demand fields so students are making informed decisions about majors and ensuring that they're going into the careers that matter most for our city's growth."

You can learn more about Indy Achieves by clicking here.

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