Campaign encourages adults to finish education

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Balancing responsibilities
Learn More Indiana offers these tips for adults who attend school while working.
Be organized: Find a dedicated place to keep schoolwork, and keep a schedule with absolute deadlines, meetings and classes. Keep work and school separate.
Be flexible: Fill time between classes with studying or try to work through lunches. Unexpected pressures will be even more difficult as a working student, but they can be tackled one at a time by staying flexible.
Be positive: Going to school while working is a temporary challenge with a big payoff. Stress is inevitable, and time will be limited. Manage the stress, and remember to enjoy life.For many adults, the time between thinking about returning to school and actually enrolling isn’t measured in days, weeks or months.

The yardstick is years, often three, said Jason Bearce, an associate commissioner with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. “Life has a tendency to get in the way,” he said.

The commission is trying to accelerate that process as Indiana works toward increasing the percentage of residents with quality degrees or credentials beyond high school to 60 percent by 2025. The current rate is about 41 percent.
Recent high school graduates can’t close the gap alone, Bearce said, so the commission in February 2016 launched the “You Can. Go Back.” campaign, encouraging the approximately 750,000 Hoosiers with some college experience but no degree to finish what they started.

Indiana’s economic health is at stake. For employees, campaign organizers say a college degree can provide opportunities for career advancement, better protection against shifts in the economy, higher earnings and greater job security. Organizers also believe a better educated workforce provides employers larger recruitment pools and strengthens the economy and middle class. The first year netted encouraging results Bearce said, as more than 9,000 recipients of the targeted outreach re-enrolled in school.

More than two dozen colleges and universities statewide – including Indiana Tech, Ivy Tech Community College, and Indiana and Purdue universities – participated as “You Can. Go Back.” partners. The commission coordinated with the schools to identify and promote available programs and incentives, such as online courses, night and weekend classes, and academic credit for work or military experience.

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