THE STAR, September 23, 2015
AUBURN — Business leaders and education officials from DeKalb, Steuben, Noble and LaGrange counties came together Thursday to help teachers, employers and youth-serving professionals learn what students need to succeed after high school in northeast Indiana.
The four-county business and education summit, “Postsecondary Pathways: Connecting Education to Careers for Student Success,” at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automoibile Museum was attended by 114 people.
Those attending learned about the types of careers available in northeast Indiana and what it will take for students to land jobs in those fields.
“The idea is to bring together business, industry and education to talk about what the local needs are. What does business and industry need from education? What do educators think they need from business and industry? It’s an opportunity for discussion between these entities,” said Indiana Youth Institute interim CEO Glenn Augustine.
He said participants discussed educational needs for employment, including a high school diploma or GED certifications and degrees. There also was discussion on soft skills that set individuals apart, such as the ability to communicate, work as a team, show up for work on time, maintain eye contact while conversing and fill out a job application.
“The northeast corner of Indiana will have 7,900 job openings in the next decade,” said Kate Coffman, program director for college and career counseling with the Indiana Youth Institute. “We want to help educators and those who work with youth understand what these jobs look like, what skills are required and how students can best be prepared.”
According to the spring 2015 Learn More Indiana Survey, nearly three-quarters of 12th-grade students who were surveyed in the four-county region intended to go to a two- or four-year college in the first year out of high school. Four percent planned to pursue a certificate program through an apprenticeship or career-technical college. The rest intended to join the military or head directly into the workforce, or were uncertain of their future plans.
“All Hoosier students need to know what their options are after high school, especially when it comes to opportunities in their own hometowns,” said Augustine. “IYI is excited to partner with area organizations to connect local businesses, teachers, school counselors and others who work with youth. Our hope is this event will provide more awareness of the career possibilities for students in northeast Indiana.”
The event featured speakers and panel discussions. Indiana Commission for Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers delivered the opening address.
“We’re hoping that this is the beginning of the discussion,” Augustine said. “We’re starting the discussion about how business and education and industry can work together to meet each other’s needs.”
The event was made possible by J.P.Morgan Chase, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Learning Link DeKalb County, DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education, Indiana Works Council Region 3, Ivy Tech Community College, LaGrange County Economic Development Corp., Invest Steuben, Noble County Economic Development Corp., DeKalb County Indiana’s Career Success Coalition and Indiana Youth Institute.