Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 25, 2013

An incomplete education for many

Leaders concerned about vocational programs

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has an abundance of vocational education opportunities but a poor record of keeping students in the programs and getting them trained in well-paying jobs that demand more technical know-how.

That was the message delivered Friday by an economic development expert to a group of 150 vocational education and workforce development officials from around the state.

“You have a lot of students who enter these programs ... but few of them who ever complete,” said Brian Bosworth, president of FutureWorks, a consulting company that has been studying Indiana’s “skills gap.”

Bosworth spoke at the Indiana Education and Workforce Innovation Summit, sponsored by the University of Indianapolis. Earlier in the day, Gov. Mike Pence told the same audience that Indiana needed to do better job aligning education to the needs of employers if it wanted to reduce the state’s 8.2 percent unemployment rate.

Pence is pushing a plan that would create regional councils around Indiana where businesses and educators would craft curriculum for vocational programs in high schools to better prepare students for local jobs, especially those in manufacturing.

“I think there are going to be opportunities for collaboration and resources far beyond traditional streams,” said Pence.

Pence also repeated his call to return vocational education “to every high school in Indiana.”

But Bosworth, in his remarks, said the availability of vocational education isn’t the problem. It’s getting students into vocational programs that provide them with the technical skills needed to land a good-paying job, then keeping them in those programs once they get there.

Among the findings that Bosworth shared with his audience: About 100,000 of Indiana’s 330,000 high school students take a vocational education class every year. But only about 10,000 students graduate with both a high school diploma and a concentration – or six credit hours – in a vocational or technical field.  

And few high school students – 15 percent at most – that do take vocational education courses in manufacturing or pre-engineering go on to pursue post-secondary training in those fields. In Indiana’s two-year colleges, only about 10 percent of students enrolled in a technical program of study complete their degree.

Pence, who’s been in office for less than two weeks, has made vocational education a priority for his administration.

He said the issue came to his attention on the campaign trail, when he heard from manufacturers that they were having a hard time filling positions that require specific job training, rather than a college degree.

The problem is significant: According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, about 7,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled in December.

Also speaking at the summit was Mark Gerstle, vice president and chief administrative officer at Cummins, Inc., a global manufacturer of engines which has its headquarters in Columbus, Ind. Gerstle said students are coming out of Indiana’s high schools and colleges ill-prepared to work in industries that require high-tech skills.    

He said 30 percent of Cummins’ employees in Indiana were born and educated in other countries.

“We can’t find enough people in our own state to hire,” Gerstle said. “It shows what a sad state of affairs we’re in.”

Indiana’s new superintendent of public instruction, Glenda Ritz, also spoke at the summit, saying she agreed that schools needed to help students focus on vocational and technical careers, but offered few details on how to do that.

Ritz, a Democrat elected in November, was welcomed by the Republican Pence, who said they shared “common ground” in their interest in vocational education.

Ritz, a schoolteacher by training, said students needed to have opportunities like she did when she took part in a cadet-teaching program while in high school.

“I knew that was what’s for me and headed on my path,” Ritz said. “All kids, all careers need to have that kind of chance to explore at the high school level, to get that relevance to their coursework and to know where they might be headed.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@ indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • mopeds Mo-ped law means some scooters will require license

    With more and more mo-peds hitting the streets, police are having a hard time enforcing new restrictions encompassed in the new scooter law. Mo-ped drivers can still cruise the streets and roads on their two-wheel machines, but the new state law, whi

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Indianapolis man buys 2 $1M tickets in 3 months INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man is celebrating his second $1 million Hoosier Lottery prize in the past three months. Lottery officials say Robert Hamilton won a $1 million prize from a scratch-off ticket he bought last week at a convenience s

    July 30, 2014

  • Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    Two people were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores.

    July 30, 2014

  • Feds cite Indiana Medicaid fraud unit over notices INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal agency found that the Indiana attorney general's office didn't give proper notice in nearly a quarter of the Medicaid fraud cases it helped prosecute in recent years. A report from the Department of Health and Human Serv

    July 30, 2014

  • Frankfort teen dies after rescue from Indiana city pool FRANKFORT (AP) — Authorities say a 15-year-old boy pulled from a central Indiana city pool has died. Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says Adrian Alanis died in an Indianapolis hospital on Tuesday, the day after he was rescued from the deep end of the

    July 30, 2014

  • YMCA front rendering NIPSCO donates $50K to YMCA campaign The Northern Indiana Public Service Company donated $50,000 Tuesday to the Kokomo Family YMCA’s Beyond the Bricks campaign to build a new Y in downtown Kokomo.“The Y is a great resource for the community, so we’re glad to help it grow and add to the

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Truck+Car Accident03 Woman killed after vehicle collides with semi head-on A woman was killed Monday night after her vehicle collided with a semi truck in the northbound lanes of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.Elizabeth Ann Jeffries, 41, Monticello, died after her car apparently left the road and entered oncoming,

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bldg Wall Collapse 01 KipCor purchases partially collapsed downtown building A building that has long been a part of downtown Kokomo’s landscape will remain intact, but undergo extensive demolition, after being purchased by a company that has been active in the city’s redevelopment efforts. The Barko building, also known as t

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post. Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named. A seven-member panel

    July 29, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries