Inside Ivy Tech: Putting the ‘community’ in community college

Quality of place begins with access to broad opportunities, partnerships in action

College’s partnerships help define civic satisfaction in northeast Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College’s origin in northeast Indiana can be traced to the summer of 1969 and leased space in the former Concordia High School at 1711 Maumee Ave.

There, a small team of faculty and staff scrambled to prepare for the start of fall quarter classes.

“It was exciting. Here was a brand new school, and it provided an opportunity to get in at the ground floor. I decided to take the chance and sign on,” says Jan Geib, one of the first instructors hired who went on to teach at the College for 36 years.

Among the hundreds of events the College supports each year is the American Heart Association’s Northeast Indiana Heart Walk.

The Indiana Legislature had established the statewide institution as Indiana Vocational Technical College six years earlier, in 1963, for the purpose of addressing a large gap in vocational-type technical training for Hoosiers.

The initial class offerings were selected based on each region’s greatest employment-training needs. For Fort Wayne, that meant two programs: Drafting Technology and Secretarial Sciences.

While many things have changed since the College’s early history—most notably its expanded role as a comprehensive community college that offers career, continuing, developmental, online, transfer, and workforce-training education—one thing that hasn’t changed is its commitment to quality of place in northeast Indiana.

“Quality of place can be defined in many ways, but no matter how you define it, it’s the single most important measure of civic satisfaction,” says Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. “The more appealing an area can be, the happier and more prosperous its residents will be.”

And for Ivy Tech Northeast, contributing to quality of place translates into actively embracing partnerships that promote academic, economic, and social advances for people.

“You have to develop strong relationships with the community if you want the community to support the College,” Mosier adds.

Aja Michael-Keller, in her work as director of events, enrichment, and conferencing, quantifies partnerships between the College and the community. In 2016 alone, the College sponsored more than 100 internally driven events, such as A Reason to Taste, South Side Fest, and Touch-a-Truck, where several thousand area residents benefited from participation.

In addition, the College hosted 465 externally driven events, meetings, and trainings, where 19,740 people attended campus functions scheduled by groups as diverse as the American Heart Association, Cancer Support, the Department of Homeland Security, Early Childhood Alliance, and FIRST LEGO League.

“One of the things that brings me the greatest satisfaction is seeing first-hand the myriad ways in which Ivy Tech Northeast enhances lives by being a place to gather, learn, and share ideas,” Michael-Keller says.

Pre-employment skills training benefits Easterseals Arc clients

While perfecting his fold of a buffalo chicken wrap, Wayne High School junior Santiago Norfleet paused before detailing some of the skills he’s developed at Ivy Tech Northeast’s Blue Bamboo Café.

“I’ve learned how to cook on the grill, work with the cash register, and avoid using the same gloves for more than one task because it could cause food contamination,” he says.

Wayne High School freshman Peyton Hullinger assists Norfleet in wrapping chocolate chunk cookies to sell at the College’s Blue Bamboo Café on North Campus.

Norfleet is one of eight Wayne High School students with special needs who participated in an 18-week training initiative at the College this spring made possible by a pre-employment transitional grant issued by the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services office.

As administrator of the grant, Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana partnered with Fort Wayne Community Schools and Ivy Tech Northeast to plan and execute the training.

The grant gave students with special needs the opportunity to learn about and enhance their skills in five areas: job-exploration counseling, post-secondary education, self-advocacy, work-based learning experiences, and workplace-readiness training.

Easterseals Arc first approached FWCS about the district’s perceived value of pursuing a pre-employment transitional services partnership. In response, FWCS officials identified Wayne High School as the school with the greatest need for such assistance.

“Our special needs students currently maintain a greenhouse, a lunch café, and a supplies store within the school,” says Wayne High School Principal John Houser. “I was excited to see this partnership with Easterseals Arc and Ivy Tech because it made the training opportunities more rigorous, more real life.”

During the training’s work-rotation schedule, the students were divided into two groups where they gained work experience through four support services at Ivy Tech Northeast: administrative services, catering/food service, groundskeeping, and janitorial/housekeeping. Students even earned Indiana’s food handler certification.

Easterseals Arc also provided the students with a small stipend to help incentivize participation while they trained.

“These experiences not only provided skills training in various areas of our campus facilities, they also provided a stepping stone for independence and self-worth,” says Kassandra Flanagan, program manager for Ivy Tech Northeast’s Workforce Alignment.

Easterseals Arc job coach Ashlyn Smith agrees.

“I’ve watched these students learn to take pride in what they’re doing,” she says. “This change in their mentality comes back around to the increased confidence they’ve gained.”

Third-graders adopt ‘no excuses’ when it comes to pursuing college education

West Noble Elementary School student Xavier Hofmeister collaborates on a craft project with his college pen pal, Karina Vazquez, a general studies major.

April 13 proved to be a big day for Xavier Hofmeister and his classmates from West Noble Elementary School. Not only did the third-graders travel from Ligonier to tour Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus, they had the opportunity to meet their college student pen pals.

During the 2016–17 academic year, Hofmeister has been paired with Karina Vazquez, an American Honors student and general studies major.

“I told her my nickname is X-Man, like the X-Men movies, and she should have a nickname, too, since we’re friends,” says Hofmeister, while drawing a pond stocked with fish on a cloth square. The squares were later connected by ribbons to complete an Earth Day-inspired quilt project for display.

“It’s nice socializing with the students,” says Vazquez, coloring beside Hofmeister. “It’s easier for me to speak with children than adults sometimes.”

A national stay-in-school initiative helped make their interaction possible.

Since 2013, Ivy Tech Northeast has sponsored a third-grade class at West Noble through No Excuses University, a program that matches elementary schools with a high number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches with higher education or military partners. The program encourages students to graduate from high school and consider attending college.

Third-grade teacher and Ivy Tech Northeast alumna Angela Beers says her students have studied the College online, learning about its statewide system and discovering that it’s a more affordable option for higher education.

“Coming here today, the students are getting a concrete, tangible experience with college,” Beers says. “Each year, my class loves to come here, see what a real college looks like, and interact with the students.”

In addition to socializing with their pen pals, the West Noble students received Ivy Tech T-shirts and swag bags filled with college-themed items.

American Honors Coordinator Krystyl Dumas says the third-graders aren’t the only ones to benefit from the No Excuses University arrangement.

“American Honors students get to stay connected to the community, and they get to feel like mentors to the younger students,” Dumas says.

Parkview Education Center to open in fall, promote streamlined career paths

Career training in healthcare is about to become more streamlined in northeast Indiana, as Parkview Health System opens the Parkview Education Center at 1919 W. Cook Road this fall.

A new three-partner consortium comprised of Parkview, Ivy Tech Northeast, and Fort Wayne Community School’s Career Academy at Anthis is expected to provide innovative and comprehensive learning experiences.

From left: Healthcare specialist instructor Shelly Dobler coaches Julia Arnold, a healthcare specialist major, in placing EKG electrodes on a mock patient. This fall, the Healthcare Specialist program will relocate to the new Parkview Education Center
at 1919 W. Cook Road.

“For participating Anthis and Ivy Tech students, the Parkview Education Center’s collaborative model will show them that healthcare is a great field to work in, and they may be inspired to become nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and the like,” says Sue Ehinger, chief experience officer at Parkview Health. “This project is also important to me personally because it has a goal of starting some Parkview employees on the path to college. It will show them that it’s possible to advance in your career when you further your skills and education.”

Parkview will be shifting its training and new employee orientation operations to the location; Anthis will be moving its four health science programs; Ivy Tech Northeast will be relocating its Healthcare Specialist program, which provides certifications to become EKG technicians, patient care technicians, personal trainers, pharmacy technicians, and phlebotomy technicians. The program will maintain a small presence on the College’s Coliseum Campus.

Ivy Tech will use its 23,550-square-foot space to accommodate four classrooms, two anatomy and physiology labs, two computer labs, one EKG lab, one phlebotomy lab, one kinesiology lab, and the option to establish a fifth classroom and a pharmacy technician lab at a later date.

Interim Dean of Health Sciences Matt Shady says the partnership will add value on a variety of levels.

“With Anthis students, there will be a more direct line through which they can continue their education at Ivy Tech. With Parkview, in essence, its staff has a long history of helping train our students through clinical experiences. This partnership slightly turns those tables as we begin to provide training to the hospital’s employees. And from the College’s standpoint, the space where the Healthcare Specialist program is currently housed can be used to expand or launch other programs,” Shady says.

Unity Performing Arts to expand programming for its gifted students

The internationally acclaimed Voices of Unity Youth Choir will soon have a new rehearsal home on Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus. The choir performed at the College’s Commencement ceremony in 2016.

The performing arts are about to become a mainstay at Ivy Tech Northeast once the Unity Arts Institute begins its residency this summer.

The new institute will operate on the Coliseum Campus, and its programming will represent the first and second phases of a multi-phase, multi-year vision for the Unity Performing Arts Foundation, which serves children and adolescents in the greater Fort Wayne area.

During phase one, Unity is expanding its youth choral program, the internationally acclaimed Voices of Unity Youth Choir, and creative writing program, Expression, to include opportunities in dance, drama, instrumental music, and
oratory training.

Phase two represents the formal launch of the institute, where, in addition to artistic programming, youth development programming will be introduced. Opportunities will include training in character building, college and career preparation, communication and leadership, and health and wellness.

“We are excited about having access to Ivy Tech’s administrators, educators, professionals, resources, and facilities,” says Marshall White, founder and CEO of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation. “Additionally, we hope to attract Ivy Tech students to volunteer, become mentors for our young people, and become instrumental in the growth and development of our programs.”

The leased 3,119-square-foot renovation marks Unity’s first independent programming space, which is being funded by a successful 2016–17 capital campaign orchestrated by its foundation. The renovation will include computer lab, office, reception, practice, and storage areas.

“This move is a major milestone in Unity’s history,” White says. “I believe great organizations don’t just happen; they need great people to fuel, nurture, and support the potential greatness that exists. When that happens, the potential greatness comes
forth and becomes a valuable asset for the community.”

Both parties anticipate that the partnership can provide a blueprint for how educational institutions and the arts community can collaborate to ensure the success of young people.

“The experiences ahead will serve the participants well for the rest of their lives,” says Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. “The College is pleased to serve as a partner with the Unity Performing Arts Foundation in providing this life-
changing impact.”

Certification agreement creates employment path for students

Paper is the traditional gift associated with one-year anniversaries, and paper it shall be—in the form of a highly respected technician certificate—for Ivy Tech Northeast’s automotive technology graduates.

One year ago, Ivy Tech Northeast entered into a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) Mopar Career Automotive Program, or Mopar CAP, to create a next-generation employment pipeline for Mopar-certified automotive technicians who will service Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram vehicles.

Click images for caption info and to zoom.

Mopar is the parts, service, and customer care organization within FCA.

“This partnership is a great opportunity for us because we’re working with a recognized name, and it’s great for FCA because the company’s commitment helps the local community,” says Nick Goodnight, assistant professor of automotive technology.

As a condition of the partnership, all Ivy Tech Northeast automotive technology faculty became Mopar-certified instructors, and the College benefits from free and ongoing instructor training, as well as access to cutting-edge advancements in automotive technologies made available by local FCA dealerships.

Associate-degree graduates, on the other hand, will have completed Levels 0 and 1 from the four-level Mopar CAP Technical Skill Core Curriculum, where they focus on learning dealership operations and technical aspects of vehicles.

“I think Mopar CAP coming to Ivy Tech is the best thing that could have happened to us in Fort Wayne,” says Randy Powell, service director at O’Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

Powell says his only option to train Chrysler-specific technicians in the past was to send them as far away as Dayton, Ohio, for six-month periods—a practice he says created hardships for families.

“Ivy Tech has always had a very strong (automotive) program here for more than 25 years,” he adds. “We appreciate all of the good work the College does for us and the well-rounded graduates it produces.”

Ivy Tech Northeast is one of only three Mopar CAP partners in Indiana to date, with the other partners being Ivy Tech Kokomo and Ivy Tech Southwest (Evansville).

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