Ivy Tech's Fort Wayne campus announced Monday the start of a pilot program designed to alleviate non-academic barriers for students receiving federal nutrition assistance benefits.
Ivy Works will provide students in certain short-term workforce ready programs with services and support addressing such needs as transportation, child care, tax preparation and housing, officials said during a news conference in the Student Life Center.
These non-academic barriers might otherwise keep at-risk students from enrolling in and completing college, said Chris Douse, director of student success and engagement and head of Ivy Works.
“Our goal is to help those students who need help the most,” he said. “We want to see these students complete their job training programs and find meaningful, living-wage work in Indiana.”
The community college aims to serve 100 students through September. Students must be Allen County residents and receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier was inspired to start Ivy Works after seeing a similar program take off at a community college in Washington state, she said. She noted Ivy Tech gleaned wisdom from Edmonds Community College while developing its program.
Although she didn't know how many students receive SNAP benefits, she said Ivy Works' initial capacity will affect a small portion of SNAP recipients in Allen County. More than 16,000 households benefited from SNAP countywide as of October, she said.
Initially, Ivy Works will serve students in the certificate programs of structural welding, commercial driver's license/diesel truck, machine tool technology and home tech care, Douse said.
He expects the initiative, which is federally funded and supported by community partners, will grow to encompass more academic programs and offer more services.
The Fort Wayne program could spread to other Ivy Tech campuses.
“It has the potential to do that,” Mosier said.
Contact Douse at email@example.com or 480-4229 for more information, including potential eligibility.