By State Rep. Cindy Ziemke Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — Earning a degree or a certification from a higher education institution is crucial to succeed in today’s workforce, but a traditional, 4-year degree isn’t for everyone.
Our state offers a wide selection of nationally acclaimed public and private universities that showcase renowned programs in business, engineering, pharmacy and more. They are truly great schools that open a myriad of doors for graduates, but there are also high-wage, high demand positions available in industries that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.
With the rising cost of tuition, many are looking toward our state’s community colleges to offer a more affordable education. Ivy Tech Community College is the nation’s largest state-wide community college with single accreditation. Connersville and Batesville both have campuses, giving students the opportunity to obtain a college education without paying the higher price tag.
There are multiple fields students can enter with the appropriate training. The most important thing is finding the educational path that works best for each person. Choosing a career is a big decision, and it’s important that that decision leads to a successful future.
This year, education has been addressed at the Statehouse in a variety of ways. We have worked on legislation to improve and enhance career and technical education opportunities.
I know the importance of career and technical education programs and their role in filling currently available positions in our state. But, a lot of these programs are not generating the results or the return on investment that we know is possible. House Bill (HB) 1064 seeks to address this problem by requiring the Indiana Career Council to complete a return on investment and utilization study of career and technical education programs in Indiana. By doing this, Indiana can find the best way to invest in these programs, work to make them better for students and encourage people to earn certificates in fields that are in high demand and pay well.
HB 1213 requires the Indiana Works Council to create a career and technical education (CTE) diploma. Offering a CTE diploma helps schools identify early in a student’s high school career whether they have a desire to work in positions that require two year degrees and help them gain experience in those fields while still completing a rigorous high school diploma. This diploma opens the door for students to begin their chosen career a step ahead of the game by teaching them skill sets required to fill technical jobs.
There are more education choices available than ever before. The important thing is to find the right fit, whatever that may be. From a legislative standpoint, we will continue to work to make a quality education more accessible for anyone willing to go after their dreams.
Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.