by JANA WILSON
A year ago, in February 2019, Tammy Wright turned 51 and got laid off from her job. That was when she decided the only way to improve her life was to finally finish high school and get further job training.
After completing her high school education, Wright applied to Ivy Tech Community College—Bloomington to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), but after she was accepted, she realized she didn’t know how she would pay for the courses. That’s why she was shocked when she received an email informing her that she qualified for a grant that would pay her entire tuition.
“I sat and I bawled when I saw the email,” Wright says.
Wright’s tuition was paid through the Next Level Jobs Indiana Workforce Ready Grant (WRG) program. Qualified students can earn job certifications in five high- demand fields for only the cost of books and supplies.
According to the Next Level Jobs website, by 2025 there will be more than one million job openings in Indiana due to retirements and the creation of new jobs, but many Hoosiers need additional training in order to fill those jobs.
Trudy Weddle, Ivy Tech vice chancellor of enrollment services, says the WRG program has been gaining traction since it launched in 2017. The state program has identified specific types of jobs that are considered high-growth in Indiana. These include advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health and life sciences, information technology and business services, and transportation and logistics. Ivy Tech—Bloomington offers almost all of the eligible certificates, Weddle says, and notes that the health sciences certificates are among the most popular at the Bloomington campus.
Grant recipients must be a resident of Indiana and a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma or GED/high school equivalency certificate, and cannot have completed an associate or higher degree. There may be other requirements for certain training programs. Weddle says that although students are required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), income is not taken into consideration when awarding grants.
Wright is very happy with her experience in the certificate program. “Being an EMT is opening all kinds of doors,” she says.
For more information, visit ivytech.edu/bloomington/nextleveljobs.