Education and Business Must Work Together to Succeed

Outstanding Talent is the first of four drivers in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Indiana Vision 2025 economic development action plan. Two goals of that driver directly address the importance of businesses being involved in upcoming Indiana College Success Coalition efforts. They are the need to:

  • “increase to 90% the proportion of Indiana students who graduate from high school ready for college and/or career training”; and
  • “develop, implement and fully fund a comprehensive plan for addressing the skills shortages of adult and incumbent workers who lack minimum basic skills.”

In order to achieve success in these areas, K-12, higher education and businesses must work together. The Indiana College Success Coalition is providing the opportunity for that to take place.

Five county summits (sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Learn More Indiana initiative) have taken place, with two more coming up in October. Each is designed to allow community organizations, education representatives and business leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges in their areas. But after attending four of the first five summits, one piece of the puzzle that I’ve seen missing is the business input.

To voice concern about workers lacking skills or not being prepared for the workplace is understood. The next required step, however, is being part of the solution. The groups noted above must all collaborate. Employers must clearly communicate employee expectations – and these summits are one way to do just that.

Below is information on the two remaining summits, followed by details of an October 9 meeting in which you can learn more or potentially start a coalition in your county.

  • October 24, Lawrence County, Bedford Middle School (4:00-5:00 reception, 5:00-7:00 p.m., program). RSVP to Sarah Richardson at [email protected] or call (812) 849-4447.
  • October 30, Hamilton County, Westfield High School (6:00-6:30, reception, 6:30-8:30 p.m., program). No advance registration required. Contact Nancy Ramsey ([email protected] or 317-501-2473 for more information).

The October 9 Indiana College Success Coalition informational meeting (1:00-3:15 p.m.) will take place at the Indianapolis Wyndham West. Registration is requested prior to October 1. Contact Sue Reynolds (812-349-4142) with questions.

The Indiana College Success Coalition, sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (Learn More Indiana), currently includes almost 1,500 organizations in 50 counties. Collectively, they have implemented over 2,100 activities to promote college access and success.  
Individuals living in counties that do not currently have a College Success Coalition are invited to start a coalition in their county.  In addition to start-up and progress funds, Learn More Indiana provides significant leadership team development, strategic planning resources, student data reports, mentoring and on-call support.  

FAFSA: Five Important Letters for Student Financial Aid

Sixty-nine percent of first-generation college students believe they can’t afford college. The fact is that most of them are wrong. There are millions of dollars available to help Hoosiers pay for college. It all starts with FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Filing the FAFSA is a must-do to qualify for most federal grants and loans, resources provided by the state of Indiana and support provided by colleges and universities. There is no cost to apply; it never hurts to try; it is the only way students can know their full financial aid eligibility.

Learn More Indiana doesn’t want any students unnecessarily missing the March 10 filing deadline. Human resource professionals should make sure their associates with college-bound students are aware of the opportunities. If you don’t play, you can’t get paid. Students and parents can learn more through the following:

  • College Goal Sunday, February 15 at 2 p.m. (local time), provides free assistance at 36 locations throughout Indiana for students and parents filling out the FAFSA. Hoosiers can submit their FAFSA online at any site. For more information, visit or call 1-800-992-2076
  • Learn More Indiana offers online step-by step instructions on how to fill out the FAFSA. In addition, Hoosiers can order a free publication, Indiana’s Guide to Paying for College: Step-by-Step Tips To Help High School Seniors Apply for Financial Aid, by calling 1-800-992-2076 or visiting
  • FAFSA Friday is an additional push for families needing assistance with filling out the FAFSA prior to the March 10 deadline. On Friday, February 27, Learn More Indiana will connect Hoosiers to financial aid advisors through a statewide webinar. Students, counselors, teachers and parents can view the presentation and chat with financial aid advisors by logging onto between the hours of 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.