INDIANAPOLIS — Public schools here in Indiana and across the country are having a tough time filling teaching positions, and one program is helping people find a career in education.
It's crucial work since there's a current teacher shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public-school employment in November dropped to its lowest level since 2000. Now, Ivy Tech Community College is helping Hoosiers go from campus to a classroom career.
Jim Moore worked for IndyCar as a race-car mechanic when he was laid off. So, he decided to become a teacher by completing Ivy Tech's two-year Education Certificate Program.
"I was really nervous to go back to school because it had been almost 30 years,” said Moore.
Now looking back, Moore said it was a natural fit, from his work as a race car mechanic.
"They would put the younger mechanics with me, and then I would show them the ways of the team. You know how to build the racecars,” said Moore.
Now he is using the certificate to get his bachelor's degree in education at Western Governor's University or WGU.
He said his advisors said, "’I've never seen someone come so prepared like I am going in with 60 credits,’ and that's due in part to Ivy Tech and their program."
Andrew Buckle is the Program Chair for Ivy Tech's Education Program. Buckle also teaches and has dedicated his life to education.
"We think we have the best faculty, we think we have one of the best programs, and why spend more money going to a more expensive institution when you can get a great, you know, an excellent education with us,” said Buckle.
He said, it's a calling, he says Hoosiers depend on. "What better job to have a platform to make a big change that positive and encouraging."
Buckle said, "From a moving Indiana forward standpoint, we need teachers. We just need them."
Yet, Buckle said the pandemic has made Ivy Tech's education program even more valuable. Classes are virtual right now, but students can do service learning in person.
So, the institution partners future teachers with tutoring programs for hands experience that's gives back to neighborhood schools.
"So, we've tried to be as flexible with our student needs while also trying to provide some support to our schools and our local community partnerships,” said Buckle.
Micah Jones also graduated from Ivy Tech's Education Program.
"It is quite fitting you know the teacher of the future like we're just always adapting and trying to become better, better teachers and trying to make learning easier for the students, so it's it's exciting,” said Jones.
In addition, he said it helped cut the cost of college and gave him transferable skills. Jones said, "And you're getting the same education or even sometimes better because it's a smaller classroom."
Jones and Moore agree education means job security in a career they're passionate about.
"I would highly recommend Ivy Tech,” said Moore.