Portrait of a Graduate - CN Encourages Internships

Albion, IN - Stakeholders and employers in the Central Noble (CN) School District attended Portrait of a Graduate Monday evening at the junior/senior high school in Albion at the invitation of school superintendent Troy Gaff. The meeting was one in a series of discussions intended to help CN be proactive in developing graduates prepared to meet the needs of the community now and in the future.

Central Noble Primary School principal Robby Morgan explained the concept of project based learning (PBL) to Albion area employers who attended Portrait of a Graduate, a meeting at CN Monday aimed at identifying what skills employers seek from graduates in order to succeed and fill workplace needs. (Photo contributed).

Attendees heard from members of the faculty about project based learning (PBL) activities already taking place and explained how opinions about what hard and soft skills are needed for a graduate to succeed vary, depending on who is asked. This is why, Gaff explained, opinions are being sought from a variety of people in the community and why more, similar meetings will follow. Faculty and staff have already been discussing, and expanding, PBL activities and working to facilitate opportunities that help a student progress from kindergarten through graduation while going beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

Kinderforest, a European model of education for young children that stresses immersion in nature and free play, is one such example of a PBL project at CN Primary School that is making a difference, according to Robby Morgan, school principal. Morgan explained that kids who may be considered rowdy or disruptive in a classroom setting are often the leaders in a PBL setting. 

Gaff indicated that as innovative programs are being rolled out in the lower grades, students begin to expect the same types of opportunities when they enter the Junior/Senior High School. This is why understanding what the community believes graduates need to succeed is critical now to helping educators develop innovative programs for higher grades as well. The longer term vision is one that is driven to help employee retention and stronger local communities overall.

As the meeting Monday wrapped up, Gaff encouraged community employers to consider offering internships to high school students as a way of providing more PBL opportunities that compliment the school's efforts. Internships, Gaff explained, may be short term and even unpaid, and still meet the school's definition of an internship.

The Noble County Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC), with representatives in attendance at Monday's meeting, also believes internships that engage high school students are a great way to develop a culture and workforce that can provide opportunities before graduation to explore long-term employment and career opportunities right here in Noble County. Internships often expose youth to job opportunities they may not otherwise realize exist and can potentially connect a student to a career doing something they love. The idea of connecting skills and passions to careers is also one that has led to Skillful Indiana, one of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's Next Level workforce development initiatives announced last fall.

Skillful Indiana is intended to help people identify high-demand jobs and the skills they need to fill them, and help employers find and keep the talent they need to grow. IndianaINTERNet is also promoting an opportunity for Indiana employers who offer certain internships to receive state matching funds, up to 50% of costs per internship. Indiana's Commission for Higher Education (CHE) is partnering with Indiana INTERNnet to better match students and employers to maximize each student's academic success and career achievement and to assist employers in finding the perfect fit for their team.

The NCEDC encourages local employers, small and large, to explore these opportunities at skillfull.com/indiana and indianaintern.net/earn_info, or to contact the NCEDC office at 260-636-3800 for assistance. 

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Lori Gagen, Marketing Director
NCEDC
Email:  lgagen@noblecountyedc.com