Martin University and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana leaders want to diversify Indiana’s workforce, with a focus on the areas of cybersecurity and technology as well as teaching.
A new partnership announced Friday aims to do just that. The programming creates new opportunities for students from marginalized communities as well as works with faculty of the two institutions of higher education and area businesses to recruit and retain diverse employees.
The partnership will “have a very specific focus on ensuring that we are allowing for and creating opportunities, access and acquisition of higher education career development for our students,” said Sean Huddleston, president of Martin University which is a predominately Black institution of higher education where about 60% of students are 25 to 34 years old.
Huddleston added that the aim is to create “good employees and good employers who are able to enter the workforce and sustain very rewarding careers in our state.”
Within the new partnership, Ivy Tech students from across the state who earn their associate’s degree in cybersecurity or in education will have guaranteed admission to Martin University where they can pursue bachelor’s degrees in cyber entrepreneurship or education.
This partnership will help to better attract and support students of color at Ivy Tech and allow them to complete a bachelor’s degree in high demand fields, said Sue Ellspermann, Ivy Tech president.
She added that Ivy Tech is focused on addressing equity gaps and there is no bigger gap than in information technology. Plus, the program adds more diversity to the teaching workforce.
The only requirement for students is to complete their associate’s degree in one of those two areas. Huddleston said the goal was to not create more barriers for students when it comes to education.
Students who transfer to Martin will also have the opportunity to be part of Martin WORKS, a program with three elements: academics, a paid internship and volunteering in the community.
The new partnership also allows Ivy Tech faculty to earn master’s degrees with the needed requirements to teach dual credit courses. Nearly 800 Ivy Tech faculty across the state will need additional graduate coursework to meet requirements for teaching dual credit that go into effect in fall 2023, according to the community college.
It’s a pathway for more teachers to teach dual credit meaning it will be available to more students, Ellspermann said.
The partnership also includes programming with Martin University’s new Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion, which is slated to open in mid-January and aims to build coalitions and address barriers to eradicate systemic racism.
The center will be a hub for workshops and programming between Martin and Ivy Tech to help employers diversify their workforce at all levels, not just entry-level jobs, the campus leaders said. The center will also help employers develop ways to create and keep diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
And that includes working with Ivy Tech to be more equitable and inclusive, Ellspermann said, adding that Martin can be a role model and mentor for them.
She added that one hope for this partnership to attract multiple community partners that can serve as internship hosts and future employers for students as well as fund scholarships.
At the unveiling Friday, the new partnership received praise from higher education and political leaders including state commissioner for higher education Teresa Lubbers and state commissioner of workforce development Fred Payne as well as David Wantz, president of Independent Colleges of Indiana.
State Rep. Robin Shackleford, the chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili and Deputy Mayor David Hampton also spoke.
The speakers praised Ivy Tech and Martin University for collaborating and working together to address diversity and equity in a tangible way that will impact many Hoosiers.
While everyone is equally deserving of an education, everyone doesn’t have equitable access, Osili said.
He said that at the same that Ivy Tech and Martin are “joining forces to create a more diverse and a highly skilled workforce, employers all across the region and beyond are recognizing not just an economic imperative, but a moral one to significantly refocus their recruiting and hiring processes to attract a richly diverse workforce.”
While the partnership will largely launch in the fall of 2021, Ellspermann said if students are interested now, Ivy Tech can be flexible in helping them get started sooner.