TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State University is launching a comprehensive skills training program to certify the skills its graduates have for potential employers.
The program will include an array of certifications, both university-administered and third-party offerings, along with an expanded student work program that will ensure students are learning and using professional work-place skills in their student employment positions. Indiana State will provide verification of the skills the students have obtained through a co-curricular transcript.
“These programs are part of Indiana State’s commitment to ensuring our students have the skill sets necessary to help their employers be successful from day one,” university President Dan Bradley said in announcing the initiatives. “Employers hiring our graduates will not only know what degree they earned but will also know if a student is certified in a specific set of skills.”
The skills certificates will enable students to enhance their attractiveness to employers by completing one or more non-credit certifications coordinated through the University’s Career Center.
This summer, a team of faculty and staff members in consultation with employers of new graduates will identify and develop up to 10 university certifications. One example of a certification already in the works is Team Facilitation in conjunction with the Sycamore Outdoor Center’s teams course program. Third-party certifications being explored include Microsoft Office Specialist, Certified Associate in Project Management and CompTIA A+ Certification.
“Students will not be able to obtain these certifications merely by taking a course. They will have to prove they have mastered these skills through interactive activities, evaluations and, in some cases, demonstrating what they have learned to a faculty observer,” said Darby Scism, Career Center director.
While it is expected to take about one year to fully implement the planned skills certifications, the university will have the Sycamore Career Ready Certificate available this summer for new and returning students. This certificate will assure employers that students completing the program have received extensive professional development in career planning and communication skills, said Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning.
“Employers tell us they are looking for students with professionalism and maturity, as well as a realistic understanding of the world of work and of their own professional goals,” Rogers said.
“Students completing the Sycamore Career Ready Certificate will demonstrate their commitment to professional development and will be prepared to be competitive in the workplace.”
Indiana State’s career readiness program has drawn praise from the chief personnel officer at Union Hospital, west-central Indiana’s largest employer.
“In this competitive job market, this program will enhance the students’ opportunities for job placement in positions that they desire,” said Sally Zuel, vice president of human resources. “The content will enhance the skills, knowledge and abilities of the students and make them stronger candidates for employment and allow them to transition readily into the work setting.”
In another development designed to improve services to students, the Career Center has moved to a central location off Dede Plaza in the heart of the Indiana State campus in the building formerly occupied by the Student Computer Center.