A partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, the ROI graduation and career coaching pilot initiative began at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year and is in operation eleven school districts in Southwest Central Indiana.

Working closely with school administrators and counseling teams, graduation and career coaches support 50-60 students in each school who are most at-risk for not attaining high school diplomas. The graduation and career coaching program is aimed at improving graduation rates and preparing students for pathways into technical certifications, associate degrees, and other postsecondary degree programs.

“There are exceptional opportunities in our region for young people to excel in the workforce,” said ROI Interim CEO Tina Peterson. “Our regional employers are hungry for qualified job applicants who possess the work ethic and skill set required for quality jobs in life sciences, defense, advanced manufacturing and more.

“These opportunities are unreachable, however, for students who do not graduate from high school and have not prepared themselves for success after school. If Southwest Central Indiana is to achieve its potential, we need these young people to achieve their potential, too, and we have a plan to help.”

Coaches work with students to create individualized high school completion plans, develop opportunities for students to experience and participate in work-based learning initiatives, and develop postsecondary plans. They also help ensure students attend school, arrive on time, fulfill academic requirements and graduate with a high school diploma.

In conjunction with regional industry representatives and postsecondary institutions, coaching activities may also include career learning activities such as mock interviews, financial literacy training, soft skill training, and college or industry visits.

“Currently, only about 32 percent of our region’s population 25+ have attained some form of post-secondary credential,” said ROI Director of Education and Workforce Todd Hurst. “We have a long way to go to achieve the goal of 60 percent post-secondary credentialing set by the State of Indiana and Lumina Foundation. While this data indicates that there is a lot of opportunity to address attainment among the current adult population, it also indicates that we must change the paradigm for the next generation as well to make sure every student has a path toward a well-paying, fulfilling career in our region.”

ROI is providing funding, professional development, leadership and coordination of the initiative in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, which hires and supervises the graduation and career coaches.

“Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington is thrilled to partner with the Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., to advance educational attainment in our state for the benefit of families and regional employers,” said Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “Through the implementation of graduation and career coaches, the college is optimistic that Indiana’s high school completion, post-secondary certifications, and degree attainment rates will improve.”