Ivy Tech Gets Cooking in Historic Indy Hotel

I attended a Yelp Indy event last Thursday at Ivy Tech, which showcased the school’s new student-run Courses restaurant and bakery (housed in its culinary school at 28th & Meridian in downtown Indy).

Led on a tour by chef Thom England, we stopped by several stations and sampled a variety of appetizers and wines, all before having the pleasure of eating and drinking at Courses, located in the penthouse. With Sun King brews on tap, unique cuisine options and a wonderful view of downtown, it made for a delightful evening. It’s a very impressive facility in which Indiana’s future cuisinal artists can perfect their craft.

Here’s more info on the restaurant, which I highly recommend you frequent based on my experience. Also, for those Hoosier history enthusiasts like me, here’s a bit about the building the restaurant and Ivy Tech’s culinary school now reside in:

In the 1880s Gilbert Van Camp developed a method to can fruits and vegetables for the family store, located in Indianapolis.  He made his fortune during the Civil War, as this canning method made it possible to send beans to the soldiers in the field.  In the 1880s, Gilbert and his wife, Hester, purchased the property at 2820 North Meridian Street and built their mansion.  It remained a private resident until the early 20th Century, when it became the home of the International Typographical Union.

The Stouffer Restaurants purchased the property in the 1960s.  The mansion was demolished and the Stouffer Hotel was built in 1965.  The focal point of the hotel was the penthouse restaurant, The Ramsgate, which featured woodwork, stained glass and a fireplace from the original mansion, as well as an amazing view of the downtown skyline.  The hotel quickly became one of the prominent locations for weddings, proms and other celebratory events in the city.  The hotel was also a favorite lodging site for local and national celebrities when they visited Indianapolis. Richard Lugar held his inauguration celebration at the hotel when he was elected as mayor of the City of Indianapolis.  Dolly Parton and the Osmonds stayed at the hotel, and legend has it that Elvis stayed on the 11th floor of the hotel in 1977 when he was performing in Indianapolis – a performance that would turn out to be his last live performance.  The hotel remained popular until the mid-1980s, as the popularity of downtown grew and became the focal point of the city.  The hotel closed in the late 1980s.

The building remained vacant until the early 1990s, when it was purchased by Bill Gothard Ministries, who established the Indianapolis Training Center.  The Christian-based ministry provided vocational, as well as Christian-based education to at-risk youth and families.

With a $23 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Ivy Tech Community College acquired the property in 2010 and renovated the facility for classroom and conference space.  The Corporate College and Culinary Center opened in August 2012, and houses the region’s Corporate College, Hospitality Administration Program and a conference center.  With state-of-the art technology, the center provides Ivy Tech’s Corporate College the opportunity to provide training and development solutions for Indiana businesses through specialized courses and certifications.  The center also features a student operated fine-dining restaurant, Courses Restaurant, and bakery/café, Courses Bakery, as well as a conference cente, with over 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space available to the public.

On this topic, I’ve also penned an article about Harrison College for the upcoming January/February issue of BizVoice magazine, which will include information on that school’s renowned culinary program as well.

Chamber Teams on Plan Calling for Workforce Solutions

Community colleges are not lacking in attention. Indiana has a rapidly growing two-year system in Ivy Tech, which has surged the last three-plus years under the leadership of longtime Indiana automotive industry veteran Tom Snyder. President Obama has highlighted the need for additional community college graduates and certifications, including today’s White House Summit on Community Colleges.

While Snyder and an Ivy Tech student are among the attendees, the Indiana Chamber is also contributing to that effort (along with many other initiatives in higher education and workforce development). The Chamber’s Derek Redelman is one of more than 30 leaders from business, education and philanthropy that joined Business Champions, Inc. in submitting an action plan to today’s summit.

The plan outlines specific and concrete action steps employers, corporate philanthropy and community college trustees can take to build partnerships that prepare Americans for high-value jobs, expand opportunities for degrees and support entrepreneurs.

If current trends continue, our workforce will be less educated in 2020 than it is today. Among older adults – those between the ages of 55 and 64 – the United States ranks first with the highest percentage of postsecondary degree holders of all developed countries. However, among young adults aged 24 to 35, the U.S. ranks 12th.

Many of the recommendations for action stem from seven White House meetings Business Champions, Inc. facilitated earlier this year for the Workforce and Education Subcommittee of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

“It’s time to move from analyzing America’s skilled workforce problems to implementing solutions.” said Mary Gershwin, president of Business Champions, Inc. “Our workforce development problems can be solved, but business-as-usual will not work.  Leaders from community colleges, the business community and corporate philanthropy must become much more deliberate about working in partnership to build skills, degrees and entrepreneurial capacity. This brief provides a much-needed road map to results.”

Business Champions, Inc. is a national non-profit organization committed to building the skills of our workforce by mobilizing the influence of business leaders to stimulate new thinking, strengthen political will and reform systems so that more Americans earn valuable degrees and credentials after high school.

Read the action plan. Learn more about Business Champions, Inc.

Snyder: Workforce Training Critical to State’s Economy

In his second guest post, Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder tackles the following topic:

  • Tell us something that not enough people know about your college or university that makes it such a special place.

Much has been written about our growth as we are the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system. But we are also the state’s largest provider of workforce training. We offer contract and short-term training to companies throughout Indiana. 
In many cases short-term training is what many displaced workers look to during times of a career change. We have put rapid response teams in motion in various parts of the state to provide workforce training for those who need support during those difficult times.
In closing, I think it is worth sharing some numbers that paint the picture of our student body:

  • Average age of 27.5
  • 25% married
  • 18% minorities
  • 39% have children (roughly 14% single parents)
  • 60% of first-time, degree-seeking students receive financial aid
  • 9,726 on food stamps
  • 74% work (37% work more than 30 hours/week)
  • 66% attend part-time
  • 39% are first generation college students
  • After six years over 40 percent of our students graduate, transfer or are still enrolled
  • School of first choice for many. 10% of recent Hamilton Country grads went to Ivy Tech

Tomorrow: Purdue’s France Córdova

Snyder: Statewide Community College Funding Key for Hoosier Students

Higher education week on our blog continues as Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder answers the following question:

  • What is the No. 1 change you would like to see in Indiana’s higher education system that would help serve students better? 

I do not believe it would be accurate to say that I would want to see something change in Indiana’s higher education. Instead I would like to use the word “continue.” I hope to continue to see all stakeholders stay dedicated to the development of a statewide community college. 
This includes continued funding of Ivy Tech to assist us in handling the tremendous growth we have experienced. We are dedicated to ensuring the success of our students as is evidenced by our Accelerating Greatness strategic plan. We must continue to allocate resources toward our efforts in remediation and retention to get the over 150,000 students we serve a year to achieve their educational goals. 
We must continue to develop a seamless higher education system that makes the transfer of credits from Ivy Tech to our four-year partners easily understandable for our students. Our four-year partners have been just that, true partners in this endeavor and we look forward to continuing to work with colleges and universities around the state.
Finally as we look at our students and how we define success we need to consider other measures than just the IPEDS three-year cohort which looks at first-time, full-time students which is a small percentage of our student body. This is just one measure and ignores the fact that, in this group, more of our students transfer than stay to graduate. We are developing more comprehensive measures that Indiana citizens can use to assess student success.

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder Discusses Your Tax Money at Work

For Tom Snyder’s Economic Club of Indiana speech Tuesday, it was largely a story of numbers (along with some video clips of Ivy Tech graduates telling their personal success stories).

Before going into the details of Ivy Tech’s growth, Snyder shared one statistic that affects all Indiana taxpayers – you are paying half of Ivy Tech students’ tuition. For that reason, Hoosiers need to know what’s happening with the community college, Snyder notes.

The school has seen an enrollment increase of more than 40,000 students since 2008. No longer can high school students decide between college and a high-paying factory job. Employers are calling for everyone to have some postsecondary education – whether it’s a four-year or two-year degree, Snyder states.

He offered this profile of the Ivy Tech student body:

  • Average age is 27
  • 25% are single mothers
  • 60% receive financial aid
  • 10,000 students are on food stamps
  • 25% transfer to a four-year school
  • 25,000 are enrolled at the Indianapolis campus (that’s more students than at Ball State University, Snyder asserts.)

Noting the high number of students who need remediation in math and English, Snyder turned to the audience to prove his point. Through an interactive demonstration, audience members took a five-question quiz based on math placement tests.

The audience used small remote control buzzers to answer questions such as: What is the smallest prime number? (Answer: 2) On most questions, about 60% or less answered correctly.

Snyder reminded the audience that while half of the tuition at Ivy Tech is covered by taxpayers, all of it is covered at the K-12 level. He shared his five steps to success in educating Indiana:

  1. Children are prepared for kindergarten
  2. Third grade students are reading at third grade level
  3. Students decide to go to college while in the eighth grade
  4. Students take math during their senior year of high school (helping prevent the need for remediation)
  5. Graduates continue on to earn a post K-12 credentials

Snyder concludes education is a shared responsibility; everyone is an educator.

After all, you’re footing the bill.

Grow, Grow, Growing at Ivy Tech

Who comprises the student population at Ivy Tech Community College? Check out these numbers:

  • 74% work
  • 66% attend part-time
  • 39% have children
  • The average age is 27.5

There are more numbers and plenty of insights in this issue of BizVoice as we explore the continued growth at Ivy Tech. Students, however, are coming aboard at a quicker pace than what is called for in state funding.

The mission at Ivy Tech is critical to meeting the needs of both a new generation of students and thousands in the existing workforce who need retraining. Find out what president Tom Snyder has to say and what he calls the single biggest issue facing the school.

Read Growing Gains at Ivy Tech.