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Indiana PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

Located in:
  • III. Operational Planning Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above.  Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.  This section must include—

    • a. State Strategy Implementation

      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include–

      • 2. Implementation of State Strategy

        Describe how the lead State agency with responsibility for the administration of each core program or a Combined Plan partner program included in this plan will implement the State’s Strategies identified in Section II(c). above. This must include a description of—

III. a. 2. G. Leveraging Resources to Increase Educational Access

Describe how the State’s strategies will enable the State to leverage other Federal, State, and local investments that have enhanced access to workforce development programs at the above institutions, described in section (E).

Current Narrative:

If we are going to meet the demands of our economy and workforce, we must create better alignment between our workforce development programs, social services, and our higher education institutions. This must first start at the state-level among agencies. Our state agencies (such as the Commission for Higher Education, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Workforce Development, and the Family and Social Service Agency) must collaborate together to leverage postsecondary accessibility for key populations, such as incarcerated adults and those on state public assistance. Through Indiana’s shared vision of increasing economic mobility through our 60% attainment goal, various state agencies can work together to proactively outreach to our target populations about taking advantage of existing financial aid programs created to support them. The tactical highlights of Indiana’s communications strategy include:

  • Earned and social media, including digital advertising;
  • Direct engagement;
  • State communication assets and channels, including endorsed marketing across various target populations;
  • “Future Finder” chatbot;
  • Social referent testimonials; and
  • Paid media.

Currently, our community college system and vocational schools account for a substantial group of WIOA training providers. We must improve communication and coordination between financial aid officers at colleges and caseworkers at our WorkOnes. We can increase the co-enrollment of WIOA participants into state and federal financial aid programs by encouraging our WorkOnes to include filing the FAFSA as part of the intake process for anyone seeking postsecondary education and training opportunities. The FAFSA will allow a low-income individual access to both state and federal funding for credit-bearing programs at our community colleges, including the Pell Grant, Frank O’Bannon Student Grant, Adult Student Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Workforce Ready Grants. We also want to expand federal flexibility in the Pell Grant, including Second Chance Pell for our current and ex-offenders and Ability to Benefit for those without a high school diploma. This will ensure we maximize our current investments and extend our WIOA Adult funding to help subsidize on-the-job and work-based learning wages, as well as other wraparound supports. Additionally, our community colleges grant credit and degrees for registered apprenticeships, which is another avenue for individuals to access higher education at little-to-no-cost and to earn an income. As we increase the integration of our workforce systems, we will prioritize professional development for both financial aid officers and WorkOne caseworkers regarding WIOA funding and state and federal financial opportunities.

Other resources we can leverage to increase educational access include:

  • Requiring all high school seniors to complete a FAFSA on time, with an opt-out provision included, so more students have access to federal and state financial aid dollars for postsecondary education, especially Pell Grants and state financial aid programs;
  • Encouraging the use of Open Educational Resources in education and training programs (such as online access to classroom materials) to reduce the cost for learners;
  • Targeting $500,000 of Employer Training Grants towards those eligible for SNAP and TANF;
  • Increasing our use of SNAP 50/50 for our grants that are state-funded to help with supportive services;
  • Creating efficiencies among our SNAP and TANF E&T and WIOA by identifying the overlap and redundancies in the supports of the employment services for low-income individuals;
  • Expanding our employer partnerships through EARN Indiana and the Federal Work-Study Program to scale paid work-based learning experiences;
  • Creating State Earn and Learns (SEALs) for specific populations, like seniors, and in partnership with other programs, like Adult Education;
  • Leveraging our local Workforce Development Boards to serve as regional conveners for government, community organizations, school districts, higher education institutions, and employers to work together for people of color, as well as rural, veteran, and low-income populations;
  • Encouraging employers to make contributions to their employees’ College 529 or ABLE accounts, as well as providing tuition grants upfront for education and training programs, rather than tuition reimbursement models, and to help employees repay student loans in an effort to attract, retain, and develop talent;
  • Increasing awareness and utilization of non-academic campus or community programs designed to support diverse learners’ wraparound supports (healthcare, childcare, transportation, etc.);
  • Assisting Workforce Development Boards’ and communities’ use of data on postsecondary transitions and outcomes, as well as regional job demand and wage data, to guide efforts that support completion and regional workforce demands; and
  • Improving the usability of the Commission for Higher Education’s annual reports and data tools to help communities, parents, students, educators, institutions, lawmakers, and employers use them to drive decision making and postsecondary completion.