INDIANAPOLIS | It was graduation day at the Statehouse on Monday for Porter County's College Success Coalition.
Two years of uniting universities, schools, local governments, businesses, churches and community groups to promote post-high school educational opportunities among Porter County residents paid off as Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers designated Porter a College Success County, along with 14 other counties.
"We are proud of the local leaders and community organizations in these 15 counties who have come together to increase educational opportunities for their students," Lubbers said. "Creating a culture of college success only happens when the vision is shared by the entire community, and these counties are a testament to what is possible."
Lubbers emphasized that college success doesn't just mean graduating from a university, but also getting the kind of post-high school training or credentials that local employers want their workers to have.
The Porter coalition, represented by Kim Harkelroad, of Purdue University North Central, and Tammy Stump, of Valparaiso's Center of Workforce Innovations, was presented a large blue road sign reading "College Success County" that soon will be visible to motorists entering Porter County.
Stump said their group has focused on informing parents of Porter County middle and high school students about all the education and career opportunities, programs and services available in the county and state.
She said kids often turn to their parents, instead of a school guidance counselor, for college or career advice, and most parents don't know everything that's out there.
Across Indiana, more than 1,700 local groups participate in the college success coalitions operating in 62 counties, including Lake, LaPorte and Jasper.
Lubbers said she hopes to establish coalitions in all 92 Indiana counties by the end of next year.