By Jennifer Decker, The Star
Two Kendallville schools are addressing adult education across the four-county area, as welding and health-related careers continue to be in high demand. Freedom Academy and IMPACT Institute are separate schools, but they work hand-in-hand meeting education needs for students from DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties.
More students are considering popular careers, said Sandy Hadley, Freedom Academy director of education.
“The big ones are certified nurse aide, welding because there’s a big need, computer numerical control,” she said. “We also offer patient access — if you go to the hospital, they’re the first person you see who take your insurance” and ensure a good experience.
Freedom Academy’s website said the school offers courses in business, computers, real estate management and supervision, safety-quality assurance, apprenticeships, medical care and technology. It also has certificate programs in medical office, office fundamentals, supervision, human resources and welding.
The academy is working at keeping up with career demands based on changing times.
“One thing we shifted to five years ago is to national certifications. When you go to apply, it says from a national level the person was able to pass,” Hadley said. “They have to meet certain standards.”
Freedom Academy also works closely with WorkOne and the Indiana Development Corp.
The academy does not offer financial aid, Hadley said, but instead offers tuition assistance through a Dekko Foundation operating grant.
The academy averages an enrollment of 1,200 students ages 18-70.
“A majority of our students come from Noble County. We’ve done a lot of training in Steuben and some in DeKalb,” Hadley said.
To meet skilled-trade demands, officials from both schools travel to businesses to offer specialized training.
IMPACT offers adult basic and secondary education programs, literacy, English as a second language, general education development preparation, secondary credit and academic upgrading.
Stephanie Ross, IMPACT’s adult education coordinator, said the school is offering 10-week classes that are free through WorkOne in welding, CNC and CNA with certifications offered with a focus in securing employment.
“We’re aware four years isn’t a path for everyone,” Ross said.
Ross said perhaps the biggest career field in demand right now is welding. She is being approached by businesses looking for welders.
IMPACT’s website says adult secondary credits are geared toward students who left high school with six or fewer credits to complete before graduation. Such classes are offered in Auburn, Garrett, LaGrange, Kendallville and Columbia City.
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, Ivy Tech and Indiana Tech have partnered with IMPACT in offering various courses.
Last year, IMPACT served 229 students in Noble County, 198 in LaGrange County, 175 in DeKalb County and 85 in Steuben County.
“What we do is listen and work with WorkOne. They give us a picture of what to offer,” Ross said.
Students at IMPACT range between the ages of 16-81.
“All our classes are free,” she said. “We get state and federal reimbursement.”
Both schools always look for new ways of offering education in meeting skill demands.
“Right now, I’m looking for supervisory. There’s a real need,” Hadley said. “We have a new program starting — clinical medical assisting — that is more hands-on.”
According to The Atlantic, the top 10 most promising jobs for the next 10 years are: personal financial advisor, dental hygienist, civil engineer, market research analyst, computer system analyst, physicians and surgeons, computer application software engineer, management analyst, accountants and registered nurses.
For more information on Freedom Academy offerings, call 347-0887 or visit freedomacademy.net.
For more information on IMPACT, call 888-349-0250 or visit fcavc.org (archived).