The Herald-Times

'Hot jobs’ list, input from businesses help tailor Ivy Tech’s curriculum

Community college works closely with local employers

By Rebecca Troyer and Bill Strother

331-4243 | rtroyer@heraldt.com

331-4265 | bstrother@heraldt.com

January 30, 2011


Ivy Tech Community College may not be an employment agency, but it certainly keeps up with Indiana’s hottest jobs.

The “Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs” list recently published by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development includes careers such as nursing, heating and air conditioning and computer support specialists — all of which are thriving programs at Ivy Tech.

“We understand that Ivy Tech needs to be responsive, not just reactive,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart.

The list includes video demonstrations of all 50 “hot” jobs, which are selected based on eight weighted factors including short-term forecasts, long-term growth forecasts through 2018, job openings due to turnover in the current work force, and salary. Students choosing courses of study, including adults in mid-career, can consult the list to see what sectors have the best opportunities for employment.

RELATED: Hoosier job rankings give career shoppers a look into possibilities

Ivy Tech uses lists like the “Hoosier Hot 50” and input from industry leaders in setting its educational agenda.

“Each program area has an advisory board made up of work force and industry partners that match that degree,” Whikehart said. “We ask what they anticipate their needs will be. We’re in constant contact with partners in the field.”

Ivy Tech programs that have resulted from work force input and analysis include green technology training, radiation therapy, paramedic science and health information technology. Each campus tailors its programs to work force needs in the particular geographic area.

“You won’t find each campus offering the same exact programs,” Whikehart said. “Each one is addressing its region’s unique business and work force needs. For example, we have a biotechnical program here because of the emphasis on life sciences, but not in Kokomo.”

The people at Harrell-Fish Inc., the Bloomington mechanical contractor specializing in plumbing (one of this region’s “Hot Jobs”), heating, cooling and manufacturing piping, turn to the union hall when hiring their skilled tradespeople — the plumbers, pipe fitters and service technicians who make up much of their 100-employee work force.

But they also recognize the huge value Ivy Tech adds for area employers in meeting staffing demands, said company chief financial officer Dave Conner last week.

Harrell-Fish, or HFI, does mechanical contracting work across southern and central Indiana, handling projects as big and complex as the plumbing work on the West Baden Hotel renovation and the new IU basketball training facility, all the way down to residential plumbing jobs.

This past summer, the company worked through Ivy Tech to fill an intern position, looking for a candidate who wanted to learn about the job and the industry. “We contacted their placement office,” Conner said, and got resumes of students who fit the profile — with the result that HFI was able “to find someone with an interest in the industry.”

HFI also has several Ivy Tech graduates on its administrative staff, Conner said, but a perhaps even bigger benefit of the school’s location in the community is the training it provides to a work force that supplies many of HFI’s client businesses. That connection, although indirect to HFI, is critical for the region’s economic health, he said, and therefore, also for his company.

“Companies locate here because they can look to (Ivy Tech) for a quality work force in industrial work, life sciences work — the industries they serve are important to all of us.

“The quality of graduate they put out into the work force is vital to the entire area,” Conner said. “We see the benefit they bring to the community.”

Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs

See the complete Indiana Department of Workforce Development Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs list at https://netsolutions.dwd.in.gov/hh50/jobList.aspx

Harrell-Fish Inc. worker Royce Peabody works on an array of copper pipe during the multi-million-dollar renovation of the West Baden Hotel. Plumber is No. 22 on the “Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs” list, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and in the top 10 for the Bloomington region. Courtesy photo

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2011