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Pence Reiterates Importance of College Degree Attainment

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(Photo Courtesy of WGU Indiana)
INDIANAPOLIS (April 23, 2013) – Earlier today, WGU Indiana presented Gov. Mike Pence with more than 140 pledges from the state’s top business and civic leaders committed to the importance of college degree attainment. Supporting the pledge initiative and presentation, WGU Indiana also announced $100,000 in new Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships. This is the largest scholarship offering in WGU Indiana’s history.
“Indiana’s economic and civic leaders have demonstrated their commitment to college completion and shown they are serious when it comes to helping more Hoosiers earn degrees and qualify for high-quality jobs,” said Pence. “WGU Indiana, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the state’s other colleges and universities are clearly focused on helping Hoosiers achieve more through education.”
Responding to the governor’s challenge to close the gap between Indiana’s qualified workforce and available jobs, WGU Indiana began the Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree campaign when Pence was sworn into office three months ago. Through a pledge initiative, WGU Indiana invited community and business leaders to commit to using their leadership platforms to increase awareness of the opportunity to attain a degree.  The university’s goal was to deliver 100 signed pledges by today, Pence’s 100th day in office.
Chancellor Allison Barber and WGU Indiana officials spent the past three months meeting with businesses and civic leaders about the pledge and about how they can support degree attainment as a way of strengthening Indiana’s workforce. Among those who signed the pledge are Jim Morris, Indiana Pacers; Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts; Nancy Huber, 5/3 Bank; Carey Lykins, Citizens Energy Group; Sarah Fisher, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing; Cindy Hubert, Gleaners; Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann; and Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. Pence signed the pledge today, and in response to its strong support, the pledge is now posted to WGU Indiana’s website for other Indiana community and business leaders to sign.
In WGU Indiana’s new Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships, 50 scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $2,000 each ($500 per term for four terms). To be eligible, applicants must have some college credit, apply as new students to WGU and pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The deadline to apply for a Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarship is July 1.
“As I presented this idea to decision-makers around the state, I was consistently met with enthusiasm and support,” Barber said. “The discussion about workforce development has been growing louder throughout the state, and the opportunity for degree attainment to strengthen our workforce and improve our economy is very real. In Indiana, there are 740,000 adults who have some college experience but no degree. This pledge is a way for the state’s business and civic leaders to work directly with us in higher education and address the skills gap that exists in our workforce. Those who signed the pledge—and those who will sign it in the future—are committing to encourage their employees or constituents to go further through education.”
To learn more about all of WGU Indiana’s degree programs, visit indiana.wgu.edu. For more on the Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships, visit indiana.wgu.edu/higherdegreescholarship.
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