Indiana Adult Education Helps Hoosiers Prepare for Careers in High Demand Fields

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Indiana Adult Education Helps Hoosiers Prepare for Careers in High Demand Fields


INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 26, 2020)  – Indiana Adult Education helps Hoosiers like Quanisha Parker of Evansville move ahead.

“There was a lot going on in my life that prevented me from finishing high school,” she said. “I had already tried going back to school three times, but I always had obstacles in my way.” 

While attending Vincennes University, she recently earned a high school equivalency through the adult education program and now has a promising future on the horizon. 

“I can go to college and have a career now,” Parker said. “I just want to be successful in life and give my kids a better life than I had. My past isn’t an excuse – it is motivation,” she said.

In the meantime, Parker plans to attend a cosmetology school and hopes to become a hairstylist. 

More than 250 class locations around the state give adult education students plenty of options to increase skills, earn high school credentials, access training, obtain industry-recognized credentials, and acquire better jobs. Available virtually and in-person, classes are provided at no charge in every county by school districts, higher education, non-profits, and workforce. 

In Jennings County, adult education teacher Jennifer Herr encouraged Natasha Perez to become a paraprofessional. Because of adult education, Perez is now employed at Jennings County School Corporation as a teacher’s assistant. Working with children and seeing smiles on their faces is what she enjoys most. Perez is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Western Governors University (WGU).

 Adult education builds bridges and changes lives for 30,000 Hoosiers each year.

“I didn’t know what to do for my life, how to continue, or move forward,” admitted Edwin Verde until he registered for classes through Hammond Area Career Center. Over time Verde’s persistence paid off. He passed the high school equivalency and now plans to attend college.

“I have big plans for my future and I’m very excited,” he said. “You have to fight for your dreams and goals. It’ll be worth it in the very end.”

Today’s jobs often require more than a high school diploma, and adult education provides opportunities to earn industry-recognized certifications in high demand occupations.

Toriano Cates of Fort Wayne set sights on becoming a CNC (computer numerical control) operator after he suddenly lost his job. As a young boy, he was raised by a single mother and lived in a small one-bedroom apartment. His optimism guides him during difficult times. 

“We did not have much growing up,” Cates, said, “but we made the best of what we had. I learned how to overcome adversity at a very early age.”

After enrolling in Fort Wayne Community schools’ adult education program, he remains confident that his best days are ahead, and his teacher, Anne VonGunten, agrees. “Toriano’s positive attitude and willingness to reach out to others will serve him well as he moves forward in his career,” she said.

Meanwhile, Robert Heacox looks forward to going to work these days as a welder for Cornelius Manufacturing Company in Elnora. The 20-year-old says his job is something he really enjoys and is a far cry from a minimum wage job he had at a local fast-food restaurant. Heacox completed an eight-week American Welding Society (AWS) certification at Turning Point Education Center in Switz City. 

Cornelius supervisor Kevin Stoll is pleased with the adult education partnership. The company employs about 50 workers and produces 15 to 20 new livestock and transport trailers daily.

“We are typically always looking for painters and welders,” he said. Heacox works four 10-hour shifts allowing him to save money and become more financially independent. He takes pride in his work and says it is a good feeling when he sees a trailer that he helped construct going down the road. “I get to do what I love to do,” he said. 

Because low education and skill levels of adults are barriers to economic growth and improving the health and well-being of families and communities, reaching out to Hoosiers who can benefit is crucial, according to Marilyn Pitzulo, associate chief adult education, of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana Adult Education is nationally recognized with nearly 900 administrators, teachers, and other personnel employed by local providers to ensure that Hoosiers are competitive in the workforce. 

“I am really proud of how adult educators in Indiana continually step up to provide a myriad of educational services, training opportunities, and workforce partnerships to move Hoosiers along career pathways to better lives,” Pitzulo said.

While completing a high school credential, Hoosiers can also earn certifications in high demand fields like advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health and life sciences, information technology, and transportation and logistics. “The possibilities are endless,” she added.

To provide additional help this fall, Indiana is providing local adult education programs reimbursement for test fees for students who take the high school equivalency through December 30. To qualify, students must be Indiana residents, currently enrolled in an adult education program, and have successful scores on a practice exam. Funding is through the CARES Act and will cover the exam costs at test centers. 

For Evan Wadman, adult education is a life saver. He enrolled in classes through MSD Warren Township’s adult education program at his employer in Greenfield.

“I am thankful that Keihin believes that all employees should have the chance to earn their high school equivalency diploma. Keihin helped me be successful by offering the class onsite before my shift, paying me for attending class, and granting me time off,” he said.

Before adult education, Waldman said he had trouble paying bills and providing for his family. His future is bright, and he hopes to continue his education and one day open his own business. “I was able to get all the help I needed to be successful,” he said. 

To learn more about adult education, visit Indiana Department of Workforce Development at



About the Indiana Department of Workforce Development
DWD serves the worker and the employer to ensure workplace success. DWD is committed to innovating and invigorating Indiana’s economic future by providing WorkOne Career Centers, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Market Information, Regional Workforce Strategies and Professional Training. Through these services, DWD is able to develop a premier workforce that enables Indiana employers to flourish and entices businesses from outside our state to relocate to Indiana.

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