Leonard Helfrich outlined a tall challenge that faces northeast Indiana this decade. By 2018, about 60 percent of jobs will require significant education past high school, but only 35 percent of the adults in this region have such credentials, said Helfrich, director of Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Talent Initiative.
One part of reducing the gulf between the educational attainment of people here and the demands of an increasingly sophisticated pool of employers is getting adults who dropped out of their post-secondary education to go back to school. That's the focus of a workshop scheduled for Saturday at the Public Safety Academy, 7602 Patriot Crossing.
“If you've been thinking about going back to college, this conference is for you,” said Allison Barber, chancellor of WGU Indiana, during a Tuesday news conference to promote the event. WGU Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast are major sponsors of the event, but many schools will have representatives there, including IPFW, Trine University, Manchester University, University of Saint Francis and Goshen College.
Barber said sessions on managing time, financing college and planning a career would be important parts of the event.
Getting people to return to college isn't the only way to increase the percentage of people who have bachelor's degrees, associate's degrees or significant vocational certification, but it's the focus of the Saturday sessions, Helfrich said. It's also important to encourage more high school students to add to their education after graduating and to attract more people who have advanced degrees to northeast Indiana.