VALPARAISO │ Addressing the “education to employment” crisis in Northwest Indiana will be the goal of the newly created Region 1 Indiana Works Council, which had its first meeting Friday at Ivy Tech Community College.
The 11 Works Councils across the state were proposed by Gov. Mike Pence and established unanimously by the 2013 General Assembly. Council members were appointed Sept. 18 and are charged with reviewing current career and technical education curriculum and outcomes.
The goal of the councils are to better align local employer needs and high school students’ preparation for successfully entering career or postsecondary education.
The strongest voice among the councils belongs to industry and business leaders with education partners in the mix as well.
The initial meeting for Region 1 gave members a chance to introduce themselves to each other and review logistics.
Mike Zimmerman, director of the Hammond Career Center, wants to get more students into career tech.
“My purpose here is to do whatever (we) can to get youth more involved to get the skills they need to get good jobs,” he said.
Linda Randolph, of the Northwest Indiana Education Center, is a retired Chicago public school principal who now works with several schools in the region.
“I want to provide as much guidance as possible,” she said.
Fair Oaks Farms General Manager Julie Basich said youths the company hires lack a lot of needed skills “in all areas.”
“We have a big focus of getting kids in and doing internships so they can be exposed to what it’s like to work in a 21st century dairy operation, so this is very interesting to me,” she said.
Joe Arredondo, Director of K-12 Initiatives at Ivy Tech Community College, said he is interested in getting an education to local students that will be more in tune to what they need to get into the workforce quicker.
There are currently 10 members on the Region 1 council but several more could be added later.
The works council agenda will review the purpose and vision for the works council and begin their evaluation of the regional career and technical education data for the region. A report evaluating career and technical education opportunities is due to the governor and State Education Roundtable on Nov. 1.