The Region 8 Education Service Center has been awarded a two-year, $1,188,950 grant from the Indiana Department of Education that will advance healthcare career awareness and exploration for young people in northeast Indiana.
Key partners involved with the Explore, Engage and Experience (3E) grant include Northeast Indiana Works, Parkview Health, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, the Questa Foundation, Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast, Accessing Self Knowledge (ASK), the Northeast Indiana Healthcare Consortium, and the K-12 and Career and Technical Education (CTE) districts in northeast Indiana.
“We are extremely excited to have received this grant from the Indiana Department of Education,” said Joshua Wenning, executive director of the Region 8 Education Service Center. “Just a few years ago, Region 8 ESC was part of a successful grant effort in the healthcare sector leading to the development of a pre-nursing experience for high school students. This grant will leverage that success, along with the collaborative partnerships of the healthcare industry in northeast Indiana, to build out additional career exploration and work experiences for students in the healthcare field.”
Northeast Indiana Works Director of Communications Rick Farrant said: “This grant will help the region address some of the key goals identified by the Northeast Indiana Healthcare Consortium we began convening late last year. The healthcare industry in northeast Indiana is experiencing challenges in developing and retaining talent, and it is essential that we execute long-term strategies to ensure the sector is adequately staffed for many years to come.”
One of the first steps in implementing the grant will be to conduct an asset and gap analysis of current opportunities and resources for students seeking to pursue careers in the healthcare industry. Simultaneously, funds from the grant will be used to expand K-12 student access to career exploration programs for K-12 students in northeast Indiana through Junior Achievement and ASK. A new experience for 10th grade students will be a JA Industry Your Way – Health Career Exploration Day. This experience will connect 10th grade students with healthcare professionals through video conferencing in their health classes.
Using the data from the asset/gap analysis, a digital platform will be created to consolidate opportunities and resources for students seeking to enter the healthcare industry. Parents and educators will also be able to access the digital platform to better support students. Gaps in opportunities and resources will be addressed by leveraging the grant partners to build out new connections and opportunities.
The healthcare digital platform will eventually be linked with career awareness campaigns for manufacturing and an overarching initiative called Your Future: Make It Your Own that will be launched by Northeast Indiana Works later this summer.
The goal of the grant is to positively impact K-12 student access to the healthcare sector through career exploration, work-based learning experiences, and ultimately increased CTE certifications and dual enrollment opportunities.
Manufacturing is the largest-employing industry in northeast Indiana. Healthcare is second largest.