Ivy Tech, Four County announce statewide partnership

KOKOMO – Ivy Tech Community College and Four County, a behavioral health services provider throughout north central Indiana, have announced the first partnership under the College’s Achieve Your Degree initiative in Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. The Four County Achieve Your Degree partnership will provide guidance and financial assistance to the mental healthcare provider’s employees interested in continuing their education through classes at Ivy Tech Community College.

The Achieve Your Degree partnership has been designed to lead to certificates and associate degrees in fields related to the work of the Four County system. Under the program, all of the employee’s college tuition may be paid with federal or state financial aid and Four County assistance.

“Getting on board with Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree program will allow us to support the ‘skilling up’ of our rural workforce for the betterment of our staff and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Carrie Cadwell, chief executive officer of Four County, who noted the increasing demand for trained counseling staff required for accreditation by the state of Indiana.

“We see this as a partnership that bridges needed professional development across our overlapping service areas of Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties,” she added. “Four County will also be able to include our staff from Pulaski, White, and other counties we serve through online offerings. This is a regional workforce solution.”

Four County has provided community-based substance abuse and mental health services since the mid-1970s as a state-designated Community Mental Health Center (CMHC), expanding over the years beyond the original four counties of Cass, Pulaski, Fulton and Miami. The company now employs staff across eight, soon to be nine counties, in North Central Indiana and serves more than 8,000 consumers per year.

Cadwell said a special aspect of this partnership is the technical certificate Ivy Tech developed with Four County to provide training in human services for the organization’s case managers and client cares specialists.

“Ivy Tech Chancellor Dean McCurdy and I had one conversation where I explained the training that is needed for community mental health centers’ primary staff, the case manager,” she said. “One conversation. That’s it. Dean pulled his staff together and immediately started problem-solving. Ivy Tech developed a technical certificate program that directly supports our ‘up-skilling’ needs.”

Ivy Tech’s Kokomo and Logansport locations will make it convenient for many Four County employees to take classes close to home as well as online in subject areas identified as important within the organization. The Human Services curriculum developed with Four County includes 11 courses with a choice of electives in a wide variety of counseling areas and will lead to a technical certificate in Human Services that can be earned in two semesters. The credits Four County employees earn can be applied toward an associate degree at Ivy Tech and will also transfer to many colleges and universities in Indiana.

“Achieve Your Degree is an example of Ivy Tech’s commitment to supporting Hoosier employers and working to improve the state’s economy. It also supports the College’s goal of increasing statewide educational attainment with degrees and certifications,” McCurdy said. “This new partnership with Four County will offer an exceptional benefit for its employees and will allow Four County to further enhance the skills of its workforce and increase employee job satisfaction.”

Employers who want more information on Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree program should contact Mary King, director of Career Development & Employee Engagement for Ivy Tech Kokomo, at 765-252-5478 or mking218@ivytech.edu .

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region