Adult learners have a unique opportunity to overcome barriers encountered along the way to earning the type of credentials needed to gain employment. Within the EcO Network in Southeast Indiana, the collaborative work of three Adult Education providers is developing the skilled workforce employers are seeking by skilling-up a population usually considered at risk.
When an Adult Education student earns an industry recognized certification or HSE diploma they are awarded a $250 incentive. Although the incentive funds are small by most standards, they have monumental impact on the lives of the people who receive them. The impact of the incentive is both short and long term. Students have used the incentives to fix broken down cars, pay past due rent, and cover medical bills, all barriers that could have derailed their lives. The impact of these small investments is much larger long term, helping people along the pathway to jobs with family sustaining wages and college degrees.
Incentive funding is provided through the EcO Network’s Skill UP Indiana grant from the Department of Workforce Development. Molly Dodge, Adult Education Program Director with River Valley Resources (RVR), who is coordinating this project on behalf of RVR, Jennings County Adult Education Center, and McDowell Education Center, shared the following success stories:
- One student who earned his high school equivalency diploma and MSSC-Certified Production Technician credential, was overjoyed to receive a combined total incentive of $500 for his HSED and Credential. He was working at a fast-food restaurant while in Adult Education and training and told his teacher, “Wow, $500 is my 3 week salary…now I can get my car fixed!” He is now employed full time at Caliper making $15.00 an hour plus overtime and has reliable transportation to and from work.
Three students who earned their HSED and Certification incentives by earning their HSED and MSSC-CPT credential have all recently been promoted from temporary to full time employment at Cummins and are now pursing an apprenticeship opportunity within the organization.
For another student, his world opened up after earning a CDL credential. While the CDL qualified him to immediately enter the workforce, he instead realized he wanted to pursue a career in the high demand field of logistics. He is now enrolled as a full-time student at Ivy Tech, studying logistics.