Fueling Indiana’s workforce pipeline is becoming more of a team sport for higher education institutions. Partnerships between one-time competitors for students are now becoming more commonplace as they look to produce trained talent for growing high-tech industries. One such emerging collaboration is between Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue University Global.
“Ivy Tech has a very strong workforce development component,” said Purdue University Global Chancellor Frank Dooley in an interview with Inside INdiana Business host Gerry Dick. “We’re trying to identify these areas for workforce development where Ivy Tech might be able to get that person…an associate degree. And then we help the person who started Ivy Tech complete to get to the bachelor’s degree.”
Nearly five years ago, Purdue University completed its acquisition of for-profit, on-line college Kaplan University to create what is now known as Purdue University Global. Purdue said the goal was to address the need for postsecondary education for working adults who were unsuited for traditional campus study.
The university was also responding to explosive growth of online technologies as a means of delivering education to non-traditional students.
“The typical student coming to us is on average, around 30 years old. They have some college typically, but no degree. And they left for a variety of reasons,” explained Dooley. “When you come back when you’re 30, you look at school very differently than when you’re 18. Our people really know what they want to do. They have a very clear path, and they want to get there as quickly as they possibly can.”
Dooley says many of his students are studying nursing, cybersecurity, and supply chain management. But the school is also examining the next wave of careers, such as the semiconductor industry.
“I don’t have that today. Ivy Tech is developing it at this point. We are already talking with them because they it seems clear that those workers are also going to have to have access to a bachelor’s degree,” said Dooley.
Dooley says over the last four years, enrollment has grown 25%. He says Purdue Global has an average enrollment of 35,000 students.
Last year, Purdue Global graduated 11,500, but this year it could reach 12,400, according to Dooley.
“Most of the students take two courses at a time. They typically aren’t enrolling in lots of extracurriculars. Their extracurriculars are most of them have kids, most of them have jobs and their life is full already.”