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Community Ed Fest, an education and career festival designed to acquaint local residents with opportunities provided within the Columbus community, made a strong debut in 2012. More than 1,000 took part in the inaugural event.
The second Ed Fest, scheduled from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19 on the Campus Quad, directly behind the Columbus Learning Center, promises to be even better.
The host schools — IUPUC, Purdue College of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College–Columbus/Franklin — will be joined by a number of major area businesses in providing residents with insights about educational and career opportunities that exist within their own community.
Organizers hope that this year’s program will draw more than 1,500.
There’s good reason to have faith in that estimate. In addition to the participating schools, some of the city’s leading employers, including Cummins Inc., Enkei America Inc. and Columbus Regional Health, will have booths for the first time at Community Ed Fest. The employers hope to send a strong message to local residents that rewarding and well-paying career paths are available nearby.
The combination of the businesses with the schools is a natural fit. The pairing underscores a message that improved educational levels of residents will fill local companies’ demands for a skilled workforce.
The target audience for this event is wide:
Middle school students can begin formulating ideas of what they want to do for a living after high school.
High school students can fine-tune their career choices and find out what educational path will lead to a specific type of career.
Adults thinking about returning to school can speak with representatives of colleges and companies. There will be activities to keep young children busy while their parents visit education or employer booths.
People will be able to see specifically how the training they can obtain locally from the colleges’ various degree programs ties into what employers want.
For the employers, the event provides access to a pool of people who might be interested in pursuing a career with their companies. The companies can explain to people the job openings they have, tell them the skills they’d need to acquire them and point them to the college booth that can provide the proper curriculum.
The Community Education Coalition, a nonprofit organization that is working to help prepare local students for well-paying jobs, is paying for Community Ed Fest in partnership with the local colleges.
It’s a good investment because the coalition and its partners have set a goal of raising college-degree fulfillment in Columbus from about 40 percent of adults now to about 60 percent.
Programs like this can have an effect on achieving that goal.
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