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Summit to stress value of higher education

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GREENFIELD — Education after high school doesn’t have to involve a diploma from a four-year university, and raising awareness of that fact will be the focus of a “College Success Summit” next week in Greenfield.

Sponsored by the Career Success Coalition for Hancock County, the summit will feature as the keynote speaker Teresa Lubbers, the Indiana commissioner for higher education.

“Of course, having Commissioner Lubbers there is a really big deal,” said Danielle Daugherty, education development director for Hancock County Leaders In Navigating Knowledge. “It will be a unique opportunity for a question-and-answer session with one of the highest people in education.”

Lubbers will speak to the value of  higher/post-secondary education and why it is important now more than ever with a “middle-skills jobs crisis” looming.

With high-end technology playing an ever-increasing role in manufacturing and the continued growth of the information technology sector in the Midwest, Daugherty said, the demand for skills in those industries is on the upswing.

“We look at college as this four-year paradigm, and that anything less than that is somehow not as good,” Daugherty said.

To the contrary, Daugherty and others say the avenues to continue education beyond high school are plentiful and varied.

“The options are almost endless. It just depends upon an individual’s career path,” said Alyse Vail, grants and community investment officer for the Hancock County Community Foundation.

Two-year technical degrees, associate’s degrees, military training and apprenticeships are but a few of the post-secondary opportunities available, and summit organizers are trying to get the word out to everyone from middle schoolers and their parents to educators, employers and community stakeholders.

“We’re looking to attract business and industry leaders to the summit to raise awareness of the coalition’s purpose,” Vail said.

The coalition is a network of civic, government, educational and faith-based organizations working to increase post-secondary education access and opportunities for county residents.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a 14-member agency created in 1971 to define the missions of the state’s colleges and universities and plan and coordinate the goals for Indiana’s post-secondary education system, according to the agency’s web site.

Prior to leading the commission, Lubbers spent 17 years in the Indiana Senate, representing parts of Marion and Hamilton counties.

While in the Senate, Lubbers served on several committees including those on education, courts and juvenile justice and planning and economic development.



What: College Success Summit

Where: Creative Arts and Event Center, 2 W. Main St., Greenfield

When: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 19 (breakfast provided)

Who should attend: Those interested in seeking or creating post-secondary education or training opportunities as an alternative to a four-year degree and to hear Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers discuss the value proposition for higher education along with a panel of speakers from the Career Success Coalition highlighting efforts to promote postsecondary education in Hancock County.

To RSVP: Go online to www.bit.ly/cscsummit

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