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Endowment awards Ivy Tech $2.5 million

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Lilly Endowment has awarded Ivy Tech State College a $2.5 million grant to start a new biotechnology associate's degree program at six campuses next year.

The program will prepare Hoosiers for careers in the growing field of biotechnology and develop highly skilled workers for existing businesses. It also has the potential to attract new industries to the state.

The college began designing a biotechnology program about a year ago, and the Endowment grant will speed its launch.

The funds Ivy Tech will receive are part of $38.9 million the Endowment awarded to Indiana colleges and universities in an effort to slow the state's "brain drain" and keep more college graduates in the state.

In January 2004, Ivy Tech will begin an intensive process of research and curriculum development. By August, students will start enrolling in biotechnology at Ivy Tech campuses in Bloomington, Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, South Bend and Terre Haute. The first group of graduates will complete their coursework in 2006.

In designing the program, Ivy Tech will consult with community colleges around the country that have model biotechnology programs, as well as with local businesses most closely associated with biotechnology/medical manufacturing, pharmaceutical and agricultural companies. Participating campuses will rely on the expertise of advisory committee members who work in the field to identify program concentrations, develop internship partnerships and align curricula so graduates are best prepared for local employment opportunities.

The coursework will also be tailored to the requirements of nearby four-year colleges and universities so Ivy Tech's biotechnology students may readily transfer and complete baccalaureate degrees. In addition, the college will offer continuing education courses and fast-track certificate programs to help Hoosiers already in the workforce to advance in their profession or move into a biotechnology career.

Ivy Tech plans to partner with elementary and secondary schools to make young students aware of biotechnology careers, the opportunities a biotechnology degree affords, and the academic foundation they will need to start college coursework. This will create a pipeline of traditional-aged students into the biotechnology field. The college will also seek to establish dual high school/college credit programs for high school students.

The grant will pay for faculty, biotechnology lab equipment, consulting, marketing and evaluation for the first three years of the program. Ivy Tech is committed to retain the biotechnology degree at the six campuses and to expand to additional sites as needed in the future.

The Hudson Institute projects that Indiana's life sciences and biotechnology industries could create 45,000 jobs over the next five years, with most openings requiring certificates, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees. The new biotechnology degree will prepare students for both existing and emerging jobs.

Ivy Tech graduates stay in their home communities. The college's 2001-02 graduate survey shows that of the 94 percent of graduates who were employed, 97 percent remained in Indiana. A study released in 1999 by the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, "Graduate Migration from Indiana's Postsecondary Institutions," states that only 9.4 percent of graduates from two-year institutions leave the state, compared to 42 percent of graduates with bachelor's degrees.

Ivy Tech State College is an open-admission college offering two-year degrees and technical certificates, as well as customized education for Indiana's businesses and industries. It is the state's second largest post-secondary institution with 23 campuses and five instructional centers across Indiana.

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