Individuals who attend New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and Memorial Baptist Church are now being offered the opportunity to go to college with little or no out-of-pocket expenses, thanks to funding provided by Fifth Third Bank and Ivy Tech Foundation, it was announced at a news conference today in Ivy Tech Community College’s Computer Numerical Control Lab.
“Financial considerations are the biggest obstacle that keep many from earning a college degree,” said Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Southwest. “With support from two community churches, funding from Fifth Third Bank, and enrollment in Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree™ initiative, dollars and resources are now available to help fund the cost of tuition for these individuals.”
Achieve Your Degree™ is a collaboration between Ivy Tech Community College and businesses, healthcare organizations, the building trades and in this case, community organizations, to minimize the financial obstacles that keep learners from earning their college degree, Weinzapfel said. Ivy Tech Community College delays payment of tuition until the end of the semester when working with a business that has tuition reimbursement funds available. “Because community organizations, like these two churches, don’t have tuition reimbursement benefits – Fifth Third Bank’s generosity is making going to college possible for these church members. This funding will pay any gap between what financial aid is available for a student and what the cost of tuition is,” Weinzapfel said.
Fifth Third Bank focuses a significant portion of its annual charitable giving on workforce development in Indiana, helping businesses overcome the challenges they face to find trained and qualified people to fill important roles in companies. The Achieve Your Degree program is offering these individuals the opportunity to get a degree in a field where jobs are in critical need.
“Indiana continues to face a short fall in skilled labor in several industries that are important to our economy,” said Steve Alonso, regional president for Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana. “The Bank is proud to help reverse this trend by putting dollars and resources toward a solution to strengthen businesses and empower individuals to have successful careers.”
In fact, Fifth Third Bank is also working toward the establishment of internship opportunities with local business and industry for students in these programs studying skills in the fields of technology like Industrial Electrical, Industrial Mechanical, Welding, Machine Tooling, Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology, and many others, Alonso announced.
“We want businesses to partner with us for the betterment of this community. The real-life experience and knowledge that is obtained through an internship cannot be overstated, because we’re creating opportunities to train talent for the long-term success of our local economy,” Alonso said.
Pastor Rabon Turner of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church; and Pastor Adrian Brooks, of Memorial Baptist Church, said that recruitment has been taking place at their churches and there is significant interest in this opportunity. Rev. Turner said transportation for students will be provided by the church’s Bridge Builders Transportation Program.
Rev. Brooks acknowledged the importance of encouragement and mentoring for students as they go through their courses. Both churches will provide mentoring to help students along the way.
To learn more about Achieve Your Degree™ and taking advantage of this program, contact 812-429-1430.