The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is now accepting applications for its new Explore, Engage, and Experience Grant. The grant is available for Indiana’s schools and local partners as they work to expand students’ access to pathways leading to high-wage, high-demand careers.
“It’s important that every student has access to pathways throughout their PK-12 education in order to help prepare them for what’s next after high school – whether that’s employment, enrollment, or enlistment leading to service,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Before it’s time for a student to consider the ‘Es’ of employment, enrollment, or enlistment, though, there are three other ‘Es’ that come first – exploring, engaging in, and experiencing career options and potential pathways, which play a key role in helping our students discover their purpose.”
The grant focuses on increasing the number of students engaging in work-based learning and earning high-value credentials while in high school, such as the Indiana College Core, an associate degree, or a career and technical education certificate. The grant also encourages schools to expand access to career exploration and engagement opportunities for students in elementary and middle school.
To support these goals, schools, nonprofit organizations, education service centers, higher education institutions and employers are encouraged to collaborate on plans to implement locally-driven, strategic career pathways for their students. These plans should identify positive, measurable outcomes for students, including increased access, enrollment and completion of a Next Level Programs of Study, the Indiana College Core or a Graduation Pathway high-value credential.
Research shows a direct link between a student’s educational attainment and their quality of life, civic engagement, health, employment, and living wage. While many students plan to continue their education after high school, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, only 59% of Hoosier students immediately do. Of those students who pursue higher education, around four in 10 graduate on time. This elevates the urgency of helping students earn high-value credentials while still in high school – providing them a direct pathway to credential completion.
A total of $25 million is available through this grant to support locally-driven plans. This funding is allocated as part of the state’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III plan. Interested applicants can submit their online application here. Applications are due on Friday, May 13. Questions about the program or the process can be directed to StudentPathways@doe.in.gov.