INDIANAPOLIS — A new report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows over the last decade the number of Hoosiers earning certificates to skill up quickly has increased by 500 percent.
According to the report, the growth in Hoosiers earning certificates coincides with the state's recent emphasis on short-term credentials to get more Hoosiers into high-demand, good-paying jobs quickly, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase is also helping Indiana make progress toward the goal of at least 60 percent of working-age individuals with quality education and training beyond high school by 2025.
"While two- and four-year degrees are the right fit for many of Indiana's learners, a high-value certificate may be the best option for others, particularly those who are looking to upskill to keep up with an evolving economy, or others who are looking to change careers," Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said.
One factor that may be part of the reason for the recent growth is Indiana's Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant. The program covers 100 percent of tuition costs for workforce education and training in some of the state's highest-demand industry sectors. Since 2017, almost 18,000 Hoosiers have earned a Workforce Ready Grant-eligible certificate and more than 38,000 are enrolled in the program now.
"The success of the Workforce Ready Grant has everything to do with Indiana's targeted approach to funding high-value certificates," Lubbers said. "By focusing state resources to support the sectors and programs we know will have the greatest benefit for individual Hoosiers, in terms of job placement and earning potential, we also ensure the greatest return on investment to drive our economy forward through and far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic."
The most popular certificate in 2019 was business administration, followed by nursing assistant, clinical specialist, electrician and medical assisting services.