Having a highly skilled and educated workforce is vital to our state’s long-term economic security and to preparing young adults to be successful citizens. It was recently announced that Indiana ranks 42 in the percentage of its workers with a four-year college degree. This statistic is concerning, since in the 21st Century job market, the majority of job openings will require education beyond high school.
As a state, we must ensure that there are programs available to get more students equipped with the education and skills they need to be successful in their life and in their careers.
As the Director for EVSC Early College High School, I see every day the challenges that face students in pursing post-secondary education. The first year of college can be a vulnerable time for many students, especially first-generation students who are unfamiliar with financial aid, academic commitments and what will be expected of them within a collegiate environment. Too often today because of many factors, a high school’s focus is on meeting the course requirements for college rather than on readiness for postsecondary success.
Programs that allow students to work on a high school diploma and earn college credit simultaneously are key to showing students how postsecondary education is an option for them. For many students, Early College and similar programs open the door to higher education and the opportunity to seek better paying employment and careers within the community. By equipping students with the resources and skills they need also serves as a means to influence economic development and expand educational attainment.
Another great Indiana program, KnowHow2GO, works to connect Indiana’s students and workforce with the resources they need to be successful. The program offers practical tips and resources to help Hoosiers of all ages get ahead in school and prepare for college and careers. It has everything from summer camps and internships to college visits and career fairs.
The program also serves as a vital tool in helping students prepare for jobs or college with a series of tips and events this summer. For more information about Indiana’s KnowHow2GO Campaign call 1.800.992.2076 or visit: www.in.gov/knowhow2go/2379.htm
We must continue to support and expand innovative programs in our state to ensure the next generation of Indiana’s workforce has the skills needed to compete in the 21st Century job market.