In order to reach the goal of 50% of adults with a postsecondary credential or degree, our county needs diverse pathways to earn credentials. Credential and degree programs designed around the needs of industry have not traditionally been the focus of postsecondary institutions or adult basic education programs, but economic data demonstrates an increasing need for workers in middle-skill jobs. Currently about 26% of adults in Elkhart County have a post-secondary degree (associate’s degree or above) and 19% of Elkhart County adults do not have a high school diploma. The percent of adults with a postsecondary degree in Elkhart County has only increased by about 6 percentage points since 1990.
Our priorities for increasing educational attainment are focused on supporting adults in acquiring the skills and competencies they need for success. In our relationships with employers, community agencies, and adults in our community, we have identified the need for stronger supports that remove barriers for adults in accessing the types of services and educational opportunities they need. This includes supports for formal education and training opportunities and also supports for parenting skills. As an organization committed to lifelong learning, and building adult capabilities, we believe strongly in the need for accessible and high-quality parenting support. Through implementing the Triple P Positive Parenting Program in collaboration with Child and Parent Services (CAPS) and many other community partners, Elkhart County is becoming a community that makes parenting support widely accessible. In each of the opportunities we offer adults, whether education, training or parenting support, we strive to expand access through partnering with organizations across the county to provide services in locations that are close and familiar for adults, ensuring bilingual offerings across all program areas, and using data to understand and improve our success at reaching diverse populations.