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A promising partnership between Atterbury Job Corps Center and Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus/Franklin has given added hope for success to those who have completed the federally funded training program near Edinburgh.
It has also served to bring the school that borders Camp Atterbury closer to its neighboring communities.
Under terms of the arrangement, known as the Advanced Career Training program, Job Corps students who have completed the requirements of the school in not more than two years are able to continue the studies in their particular field at Ivy Tech for a third year on government grants.
This is not an open-ended arrangement. In fact, reduced federal funding has limited the number of students able to go beyond Job Corps schooling.
In recent years, Ivy Tech was able to accept up to 34 students at a time, but today that number has been reduced to 12, making it highly competitive. In some respects that increased competition can be seen as a benefit to both Ivy Tech and prospective employers in that it ensures that the highest qualified Job Corps students enter the program.
Those students who are accepted not only have their tuition covered but are able to continue living at the Job Corps Center.
They also have the opportunity to work while pursuing a continuation of their studies, thus enabling them to save money so they contribute to their future tuition with a goal of either obtaining an associate degree or even enrolling at other educational institutions to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The arithmetic adds up for the students. Studies show that workers with associate degrees earn an average of $130 more a week than those with only high school degrees.
Employers also reap rewards in that the pool of skilled applicants for jobs is increased.
While all those might be considered direct benefits, the partnership has also served to strengthen the connection between the Job Corps and neighboring communities. For a variety of reasons there has been a certain difficult-to-define distance between the entities through the nearly 50-year history of the local Job Corps Center.
One factor that has played into that situation has been that much of the student body comes to the Edinburgh area facility from throughout the Midwest. Initially, many of the students were from urban areas.
The Atterbury Job Corps Center, which was one of the first schools established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, was essentially a self-contained institution. For recreational outings, students were bused to and from Indianapolis.
Over the years, the school and officials of area organizations have worked on cooperative projects that have benefited all participating entities.
One of the most noteworthy was the use of Job Corps students on facets of the Mill Race Park expansion project in 1992.
Partnerships like this and the Advanced Career Training program at Ivy Tech are mutually beneficial to all parties, a consideration that can lead to other cooperative undertakings and a further narrowing of that distance.
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