HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. – The Pursuit Institute (formerly the Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement) shared a review of its first year with approximately 100 guests on August 26, 2022 at the Noblesville Schools Community Center.

Carrie Lively, Executive Director of The Pursuit Institute (formerly HCCCA) provided the audience with a brief history of career and technical education in Hamilton County, highlights of what has been accomplished in the last year and a look to the future.

For the last 50 years, all Hamilton County school districts (6 in total) have been sending students to the J. Everett Light Career Center in Marion County (on the North Central High School campus).  Since 1972, the population of Hamilton County has grown from approximately 55,000 to over 350,000 residents. The needs of our high school students requesting career and technical education has dramatically changed over this time. “We are not meeting our community’s workforce needs by doing what we have been doing so it is time to create something new,” said Lively. She noted only about 3% of high school students from across the county were attending classes at J. Everett Light.

Lively, and the Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation, have been busy over the last year creating a new model for career and technical education (CTE) in Hamilton County. Here are 4 highlights from the past year.

1) Nine new academic pathways have been created in the following areas. Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Automotive, Cybersecurity, Dentistry, Education, Pharmacy, Registered Nurse and Welding. Seven of these programs have students enrolled this school year.

2) The Pursuit Institute has secured over $3 million in competitive grant funding. These funds are being directly reinvested into each of the six school districts to help develop curriculum, purchase equipment and hire additional teachers to teach within the pathways. The organization was started with $425,000 from the County Council and Commissioners.

3) Application to become an independent CTE district has been completed. Becoming a CTE district, representing all of Hamilton County, will allow The Pursuit Institute and school districts to receive over $500,000 annually in federal Perkins funding.

4) Placing over 100 students in Modern Youth Apprenticeships across the county. There is a national movement to change traditional apprenticeship models. The Pusuit Institute is part of this change and is creating purposeful education training through two year apprenticeships.  Skills and credentials can be gained while in high school preparing students for a high wage, high demand career after high school or entry into a degree program at a post secondary institution. The Pursuit Institute currently has 95 students in the first year of a two year model in a healthcare apprenticeship. Students participate in 3 courses during the first year and then complete rotations in a variety of healthcare settings during the second year while employed by and being paid by local hospitals. This experience allows students to experience a variety of specialized healthcare careers before making a post secondary decision.

Looking forward, The Pursuit Institute has a long list of objectives over the next five years. In the short term, Lively has three goals for this year.

1) Invest $500,000 in professional development for educators, counselors and work-baed learning coordinators to further develop thier skills and knolwedge in CTE and their connections to community so they can better assist and equip students. Funding for this work is covered by grants received.

2) Continue to expand more pathways and programs for students based on Hamilton County’s workforce needs.

3) Expand awareness of career and technical education (CTE) in the community. The Pursuit Institute wants to partner with more local businesses and industries to expand the work-based learning opportunities and on the job training experiences. Lively also wants to educate community members on what CTE is and how it serves ALL students. It is no longer for those that are not planning to go to college, it provides great experiences for ALL students to become better equipped at planning their futures.

 The Pursuit Institute is an initiative of Invest Hamilton County. It was launched in the summer of 2021 with support from the Hamilton County Council and Commissioners, Duke Energy, Hamilton County Tourism and multiple local corporate partners.

To learn more or become involved with The Pursuit Institute, contact Carrie Lively at clively@thepursuitinstitute.org or Kyle Marshall at kmarshall@thepursuitinstitute.org