INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning & Apprenticeship says it expects to hit a major goal by the end of the year. The office says it is working to achieve its vision of doubling the number of Hoosiers in work-based learning programs from 12,500 to 25,000.

The office was created a year ago through an executive order from Governor Eric Holcomb. Officials are working to get interested employers and educators connected with the right programs in order to reach the goal, which executive director Darrel Zeck believes the office will surpass this year.

The office says it has helped place nearly 5,000 Hoosiers into work-based learning or apprenticeship programs. With help from the state, businesses can use six paths to help attract employees: job shadowing, career and technical education, internship and capstone courses, adult education with on-the-job training, State Earn-and-Learn opportunities, and registered apprenticeships through the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We can show employers that they can start out with a quality job-shadowing program and have some summer internships, whether college or high school,” Zeck said. “And once they do that, and they start to see the value of that relationship, then we can start to look at more comprehensive programs, like the State Earn-and-Learn program or registered apprenticeships.”

Zeck says he believes certified State Earn-and-Learn programs, or SEALs, are becoming more popular and "will likely become the bread and butter of the program." SEALs can range from eight weeks to two years and offer industry certifications that are tailored for any sector.

Zeck, along with senior director Carrie Lively, visited with businesses and educators from throughout the state last fall and says they received more than 200 requests for assistance to help launch a SEAL or other work-based learning curriculum. 

The Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning & Apprenticeship is part of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.