Report: Indiana Colleges Issuing More Career Prep Certificates

Feb 20, 2017

A new report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education says a rising number of people are getting educational certificates from two-year Indiana colleges, which may help fill the state’s open manufacturing jobs.

The CHE report focuses on credit-bearing certificates – the kind college students can earn in less than one or two years, from programs that “commonly have a career or occupational focus.”

In Indiana, CHE found a 32 percent increase in production of these certificates since 2012, mostly from two-year public schools like Ivy Tech Community College.

More than half of the certificates were in business or health. Skilled trades ranked next, with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields following.

Lobbyist Stephanie Wells of the Indiana Manufacturers Association says that’s promising for factories where many skilled, long-time workers are nearing retirement.

“We believe that we may not be able to fill up to two-thirds of our positions over the next decade, due to a misalignment between the education system and what our workforce needs are for our members,” Wells says. “So this is wonderful news.”

But she says credit-bearing certificates are just one piece of the puzzle. Some jobs require associate’s degrees, for example, or licenses earned outside of college.

The CHE report says a majority of students did continue into degree programs within a few years of earning a credit-bearing certificate.