A low unemployment rate, strong workforce and higher education institutions are contributing to Columbus’ success.

Those points were made by panelists last week in the second of a three-part lecture series at the Columbus Learning Center. The Jan. 25 installment of the series — which discusses Columbus’ past, present and future — focused on current-day Columbus.

Bartholomew County’s unemployment rate, which stood at 2.3 percent in December, was tied for fifth lowest in the state.

“Our unemployment rate is extremely low, which is a great thing,” said panelist Kathy Oren, executive director of the Community Education Coalition.

Training opportunities are available close to home for Columbus residents through IUPUC, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue Polytechnic Columbus, Harrison College and Trine University on the Columbus AirPark campus, offering various degree programs, Oren said.

More than two-third of Bartholomew County high school seniors go on to college within one year of graduation, she said.

Bartholomew County’s percentage of 68.7 exceeds the statewide average of 64.8 percent of high school students who enroll in college within a year of graduation, according to 2015 statistics, Oren said.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com