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Indiana offers free career coaching

Last month, the State of Indiana unveiled a new program that offers free career coaching to any unemployed or under-employed resident. The Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet has partnered with Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana’s community college system. Inside Track, an Ivy Tech non-profit partner, will deliver coaching services. The state will use CARES Act funding to pay for the program.

The program offers up to four months of free, one-on-one career counseling sessions to any eligible individual. Participants can interact with their career coaches via phone, email or text. The program will help individuals identify and connect with careers that generate sufficient income and benefits to sustain a family.

InsideTrack, which has partnered with Ivy Tech previously, has offered career coaching services since 2001. Ivy Tech is expanding its own career coaching services on each of its 19 campuses. Although the service is currently optional, Ivy Tech eventually will require enrolled students to participate in career coaching.

Career coaching services include helping participants identify career goals, create résumés, research hiring trends, build etworking tools and of course, make education and training plans. Often, people who disconnect from educational resources don’t know how to re-access them. This lack of knowledge often prevents people from pursuing different career paths.

Career coaching makes more sense than a hotel does

Offering free career coaching makes a lot of sense. Besides providing a valuable service, career coaching through a local community college can also connect the institution with a demographically diverse group of prospective adult learners. By working with local residents to create a new educational or career plan, the community college can help individuals achieve their career goals.

This is yet another opportunity to recruit and enroll students. Strategies like this one offer a far better return for the community than redirecting educational funding to build resource-sucking enterprises like hotels or fitness centers. Putting people to work, connecting them with resources to improve their lives – that’s a community college’s mission.

Borrowing exorbitant sums of money to build an expensive-to-maintain health club? Sorry, not part of the mission. Repeating this strategy to build a hotel and conference center? Also not part of the mission.

As taxpayers, we rely on the elected Trustees to avoid these expensive pitfalls. Instead, WCC Trustees have plunged headlong into the delusional notion that these side projects will generate additional revenues for WCC.

There is no acknowledgment on the Trustees’ part that this approach merely drains resources away from WCC and makes it harder for the College to serve the community. When the Trustees sacrifice valuable resources like The Children’s Center to preserve operations that don’t advance the mission, it is time for the voters to reconsider who they’re electing to the Board.

Photo Credit: waferboard , via Flickr