IPS high school students, parents and the community have an opportunity to gain the skills needed for Indiana’s five high-demand career fields through a Workforce Ready Grant program that the district and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education are working together to help promote.

These grants are designed to remove the financial barriers that often stop people from advancing in their careers, increasing their household income, or moving from a job to a career.

“We want to make sure that we’re getting the word out about the grants so our eligible students and their parents will be able to access free job training to high-demand sectors,” said Flora Jones, Postsecondary Readiness director at IPS.

The top five high-demand careers are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Building & Construction.
  • Health & Life Sciences.
  • IT & Business Services.
  • Transportation & Logistics.

It’s no coincidence that these careers mimic several of the college and career options available at IPS high schools.

“When we were reimaging our high schools at IPS, we looked at next level jobs,” said Jones. “We wanted to make sure that we were in line with the state and government as far as what would be those top jobs, and what would be a benefit for our students.”

In February, members from the commission for high education will visit IPS high schools to talk to seniors about the top jobs in Indiana and the grant program. But they want all high school students to share this information with their families too.

“This opportunity could elevate incomes in our students’ households. Parents

can increase their marketability, and advance to having careers. The educational piece is beneficial. It’s not just helping our students, but their families and the community,” said Jones.

The program ultimately also helps keep skilled employees in Indiana.

Greg Harrell, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s school and community outreach manager, recently talked about Next Level Jobs and the Workforce Ready Grant program.

What is the Next Level Jobs Initiative?

The Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant provides free job training in high-demand sectors at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, and other authorized training providers.

What are the benefits of Next Level Jobs for students, parents and community members? 

In Indiana alone, approximately 1 million job vacancies are expected over the next decade, and more than 60% of these opportunities will require a quality credential beyond high school. The Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant can greatly benefit IPS students, parents or community members as the program works to meet eligible learners where they are, whether that’s a high school graduate looking to kick-start their college career or a returning adult seeking to gain skills to meet workforce demand.

Are there specific types of certificate programs and degrees that can be pursued with Next Level Jobs? 

The grant covers 150 high-value certificate programs in five in-demand fields that align with the economic need in Indiana, including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Building & Construction.
  • Health & Life Sciences.
  • IT & Business Services.
  • Transportation & Logistics.

What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to qualify for the grant, applicants must:

  • Be an Indiana resident and U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent but less than a college degree.
  • Enroll in any qualifying training program offered by an authorized provider.
  • Meet additional financial aid requirements for certain training providers and programs.

How can IPS students, parents and community members learn more about the program and sign up? 

To learn more about the program, visit https://learnmoreindiana.org/career/ips/and then click the “Next Level” link at the bottom of the page. Once on the homepage, click the “Job Seekers” link and then select “Available Job Training.”

Individuals can explore eligible programs that align with their goals and their interests. The “Get Started Now” section will take potential applicants to up to three training providers offering eligible certificates.