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Lubbers targets work force readiness, credentials

Posted: Friday, February 10, 2017

By Dan McGowan, senior writer/reporter
Inside INdiana

Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers used her 2017 State of Higher Education Address to focus on boosting the connection between education and work force needs. She said the future of the state depends on preparing current and future employees with the right set of skills. “Those who grasp the need for increased education and greater adaptability will thrive. Those who do not will be left behind.”

Lubbers also talked about increasing the number of Hoosiers receiving professional certifications and simplifying the financial aid process. “We must embrace more opportunities - like the Workforce Ready Grant - to adapt our approaches to the needs of working Hoosiers and employers,” she said. The grant is being considered by state legislators and would cover tuition costs for high-demand career certifications. It is estimated that some 1.4 million Hoosier professionals could benefit from a post-secondary credential.

An online program called ScholarTrack was also just launched, integrating state financial aid programs and tracks completion steps for students involved in the Scholar Success Program. ScholarTrack is slated to be expanded for all Hoosier students from seventh grade this fall.

Lubbers also updated progress of several high-profile initiatives, including: An estimated 41 percent of Hoosiers now have a degree or credential beyond high school, drawing the state closer to the commission’s goal of 60 percent by 2025; following the launch of Indiana’s You Can. Go Back. campaign in 2016, more than 9,000 former students with incomplete degrees re-enrolled in school; and Hoosier students will be featured in a new, nationally-inspired program called “Roadtrip Indiana,” which will being this spring and follow students as they explore potential careers throughout the state.