The Pursuit Institute, which was formerly known as the Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement, has been designated as an independent Career and Technical Education district by the state of Indiana.
“Career and technical education should be afforded to all students, regardless of their post-high school plans. CTE is for students who want the skills and credentials to enter the world of work, but it is also designed for students who plan to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree after high school,” said Paul Kaiser, superintendent of Westfield Washington Schools. “By collaborating across our county, we are providing new opportunities for all students, and providing Hamilton County with the education and training pipelines that will continue to drive our economy.”
Five school districts – Carmel, Hamilton Heights, Noblesville, Sheridan and Westfield – have already approved joint operating agreements to administer career and vocational training, while Hamilton Southeastern Schools is the lone district that hasn’t voted to approve the agreement as of Oct. 17. Students in all Hamilton County school corporations who have sought career and vocational education have attended classes at the J. Everitt Light Career Center in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township.
However, under the joint operating agreement, schools would offer classes at their respective schools, allowing students from across Hamilton County to access those courses. The new designation as a CTE district will allow The Pursuit Institute and the school districts it serves to receive up to $500,000 annually in federal Perkins funding.
“This community is a place where great things happen and that is because we invest in people,” said Hamilton County Councilor Steven Nation. “This new CTE district is an example of how a spirit of collaboration can further improve opportunities available to students for generations to come.”
Carrie Lively, executive director of The Pursuit Institute, said the collaboration between education and industry that is taking place in Hamilton County is unique.
“This innovative approach is the catalyst for developing state of the art programming and educational opportunities,” Lively said. “What makes this even better is that we are affording these opportunities to thousands of students within the county, ensuring equitable access to education, regardless of where students reside.”
Officials hope to get everything up and running in time for the 2023-24 school year, according to Lively.