Ivy Tech meeting challenges of workforce future

2013-03-22T00:00:00Z Ivy Tech meeting challenges of workforce futureJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Ivy Tech Community College is working to meet the challenge's of the future workforce.

It is something that must be done, Aco Sikoski, vice chancellor of the Valparaiso campus, told members of the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

"If the U.S. is to continue to be a global leader, we must continue to prepare our students, Sikoski said.

Ivy Tech, said Sikoski, through its 50 years of service, has been trying to do that.

Sikoski said enrollment at the Northwest Indiana region campuses of the school is growing. It has climbed from 4,000 in 2001 to over 12,000 in 2012, where students are studying an array of subjects to either earn an associates degree or to prepare to go on to a four-year college.

This year, Ivy Tech, state-wide, had 41 percent of the enrollment of college freshmen in the state, said Sikoski, more than Indiana University, Indiana State University, Ball State University and Purdue University combined.

Giving a history of Ivy Tech's founding in 1963 with a $50,000 grant from the state legislature, Sikoski said the school has grown in offerings as well as enrollment.

He said the campus is working with industry to train people for today's jobs, as well as those of tomorrow, pointing to the Energy Technology and Steelworker for the Future programs.

"We have to encourage more people to pursue a higher education. Fifty-five percent of all jobs in Indiana will require some type of education" beyond high school, Sikoski told the group.

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