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College completion counts for our citizens and our area's economy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 12:01 am

College completion is the best pathway to success for our citizens and their families and is a serious issue for our region, our state and our country.

Leaders from workforce development and educational organizations have come together to pilot the College Completion Counts conference on Saturday to remove the barriers that may have prevented students from completing college in the past.

In Indiana, more than 740,000 Hoosiers have some college and no degree. In northeast Indiana, the average employee in 2009 earned only 77.4 percent of the U.S. average annual wage. This is exactly why the region has adopted the Vision 2020 priority that we call The Big Goal — increasing the proportion of college graduates to 60 percent by the year 2025 — to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

If we are to improve the standard of living in northeast Indiana and make the shift to a knowledge-based economy, college completion counts.

College completion counts for our region, our state and our country. But it counts most for those who have successfully returned to college and earned their degree. Workers with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $20,000 more per year than those with a high school diploma.

As part of the College Completion Counts conference on Saturday, participants will have the opportunity to hear firsthand from adults who have successfully returned to college and earned their degree.

I invite any northeast Indiana citizen to attend or invite those you know who are considering a return to college. We’re doing our best to raise the importance of education as it relates to the future of northeast Indiana. It’s just a matter of each person taking that next step toward a college degree.

If you go

College Completion Counts Conference


Public Safety Academy Ivy Tech South Campus

7602 Patriot Crossing

Fort Wayne

Morning session: 8:30 a.m.-noon

Afternoon session: 12:30-4 p.m.

(Sessions are identical and participants may attend either.)

Registration for the conference

Online at www.completion

There is a $10 registration fee that covers the cost of refreshments and materials provided at the conference.

Participants will

Learn about resources that will help them complete college.

Ask questions of and hear firsthand from graduates who successfully returned and earned a degree.

Have an opportunity to meet individuals from northeast Indiana’s educational institutions.

Informational topics

Financial aid and planning

Back-to-school preparation

Job searching for the 21st century

Time management and life balance

Organizations involved

Talent Initiative and Vision 2020/Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership; Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board; CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan; WGU; Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast; IPFW; Grace College; Trine University; University of Saint Francis; Manchester University.

Leonard Helfrich is the talent initiative director for Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.