Ivy Tech Waldron announces Community Arts Award winners

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting a Community Arts Awards reception and fundraiser on Saturday, March 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. Community Arts Award recipients will receive their awards, and guests will enjoy an evening of entertainment and live art creation, with opportunities to bid on visual art created by local artists.

“The arts in Bloomington contribute to our quality of life, as well as our economic health, to the tune of $72.3 million,” said Paul Daily, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Ivy Tech Waldron Artistic Director. “We’re excited to host an entertaining awards celebration at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center to celebrate arts advocates and to advance the arts in our community.”

Categories and recipients of Community Arts Awards 2015 are as follows: Arts Advocate, Jim Manion, WFHB; Special Citation – Lifetime Achievement, Jane C. Otten, owner, Pygmalion’s Art Supplies from 1975 to 2007; Arts in Business, BLOOM Magazine; and Arts in Education, Sara Irvine and Chris Bultman, The Project School.

Entertainment at the awards reception will be provided by emcees Paul Daily, and John Whikehart, Chancellor Emeritus, who will reprise their roles from the fall 2014 performance of “Mass Appeal.”

Additional entertainment will include a performance by David Chervony, circus artist and actor based in New Orleans, La. Chervony is a native of Chicago, Ill. and is an Indiana University graduate who also performed in Ivy Tech Student Productions at the Ivy Tech Waldron. Chervony can be seen in recent TurboTax TV spot, “Taxes Done Right: 2015 Mardi Gras Statues” (http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7F_O/turbotax-taxes-done-right-2015-mardi-gras-statues).

The event is planned in celebration of the John Waldron Arts Center’s 2015 building centennial. Proceeds will benefit arts instruction and youth arts scholarships at Ivy Tech-Bloomington.

There is no cost to attend Community Arts Awards 2015, but reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling (812) 330-6235 or emailing lpurcell3@ivytech.edu by Friday, February 27. Space is limited.

More information about the event and award winners at www.ivytech.edu/waldron.

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) Regional Arts Partner for the IAC’s Region 8. Region 8 includes Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, and Owen counties. For IAC region 8 news, visit www.ivytech.edu/bloomington and click on Indiana Arts Commission Regional Arts Partner.

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Free job training in advanced manufacturing available to eligible individuals

Ivy Tech Corporate College is providing free, scholarship-funded job training to a limited number of eligible participants through the Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP). The training will result in a nationally recognized certification: Certified Production Technician (CPT) from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). Training sessions are scheduled to begin Monday, February 23 in both Bloomington and Bedford.

The program consists of 140 hours of training over eight weeks, including three-hour class sessions each Monday through Thursday, and some Fridays. AMP participants will gain competency in four advanced manufacturing areas: safety, quality and measurement, manufacturing and production, and maintenance awareness. The program offers various time frames to accommodate schedules of participants.

In order to qualify for scholarship-funded AMP training, candidates must be 18 years of age, test at a silver level or above in the WorkKeys assessment, possess a high school diploma (or equivalent), and be able to pass a drug screen. Participants will attend each scheduled class session for eight weeks. The program cost is valued at $2,600, but the cost will be covered by scholarships for more than 60 individuals who meet the qualification criteria.

Corporate College partnered with several organizations to make this scholarship-funded training possible. The Advanced Manufacturing Program is made up of several community leadership groups, and is tasked with providing job skills to local residents in advanced manufacturing. Several employers have also partnered with the program. Scholarships for training have been made possible by the generous support of: Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, Duke Energy, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council, and Region 8 Workforce Investment Board.

For more information, visit www.amp-indiana.com. For questions, contact Susan Garcia, Program Manager, at (812) 330-6042 or sgarcia62@ivytech.edu.

President Obama pushes community college plan during visit to Indiana

President Obama pushes community college plan during visit to IndianaBy Rachel Bunn 812-331-4357 | rbunn@heraldt.com

Michael Wilson wasn’t sure he would get an internship with Aerofab, a sheet metal company in Indianapolis.

The Ivy Tech Community College student was competing with students from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for the gig, and he wondered about his chances.

But it was Wilson’s knowledge, mostly from his hands-on training classes, that secured him a spot at the company his final semester at Ivy Tech, which will continue through the summer — just before the chemical engineering and technology major starts at IUPUI.

Wilson was the Ivy Tech student who greeted President Barack Obama on his arrival Friday at the Indianapolis campus, his story just one of the many examples of why Obama came to Indiana to hype his plan for two free years of community college, among other initiatives.

In the town hall-style meeting, Obama toggled between lighthearted moments – his first international trip where he accompanied former Republican Sen. Richard Lugar to Russia and his love of basketball, despite his game being “gone” – and pushing his agenda.

“I’m not pushing these ideas for my sake; I’m pushing them because I think this is where America needs to go,” Obama told the audience of about 400 people.

The president’s proposals – from community colleges to childcare to highways – focus on improved infrastructure that he said will grow the U.S. economy and middle class by creating jobs and keeping them in the country.

The biggest piece is “America’s Promise,” a proposal to make two years of community college free to students who maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college and complete their degree on time.

To pay for it, the president wanted to scale back tax benefits for college savings account, also known as 529 savings accounts, a plan he said he was officially dropping.

“The savings weren’t that great,” said Obama, who has two savings accounts himself for daughters Malia and Sasha. “So we actually, based on response, changed our mind and are going to be paying for the two years of free community college with other sources.”

The other sources he’s proposed are closing tax code loopholes, including one for trust funds, which benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

It won’t be enough to fund the community college program, though, with about a fourth of the estimated $60 billion over the next 10 years expected to come from states. It’s a plan that’s been highly criticized by Republican leaders.

The president has a response to those leaders, however.

“If Republicans disagree with the way I’m trying to solve these problems, they should put forward their own plans,” Obama said.

Right now, the president’s plan focuses on what he called “creative” solutions that include online learning, credit for skills veterans learn while serving their country and even partnerships between community colleges and high schools.

“We have this rigid system, this image in our heads,” Obama said. To most people, education follows a singular path: high school, then a four-year college, then a job. But that’s not the way education or life works for many students. “We have to be much more creative about these issues.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, who attended the event, said he sees the president’s proposal as a jumping off point for more bipartisan discussion.

“What we’re looking to do is work together with our colleagues for the same goal – when you end college, not to come out with debt,” Donnelly said.

The price tag may be the biggest sticking point for Republican leaders. Rep. Todd Young, R-Indiana, said in a statement that 93 to 95 percent of Ivy Tech students are already eligible for financial aid that would cover all college costs, making the president’s plan more burdensome than beneficial.

“Every Hoosier deserves access to an affordable, quality education that will prepare them for entry or re-entry to our workforce, and realization of their full human potential,” Young said. “‎We should expect a statewide community college system like Ivy Tech to play a large role in realizing that vision. But such plans are best left to the individual states and their college and university systems.”

In Indiana, a bill — authored by state Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington — would provide full tuition scholarships for up to 2.5 years toward an associate’s degree. The bill has been referred to the education committee.

Obama encouraged Hoosiers to reach out to government leaders and encourage more discussion and bipartisan compromise.

“Let’s have a debate worthy of this country,” he said.

Ivy Tech Community College is one of the largest community college systems in the U.S. with a statewide enrollment of nearly 180,000 students.

Mayor of Bedford, Shawna Girgis, appointed to Ivy Tech-Bloomington Board of Trustees

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus welcomes Mayor of the City of Bedford, Shawna Girgis, to its Regional Board of Trustees. The Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees passed a resolution appointing Girgis to the regional board, effective February 5, 2015.

Mayor Girgis is replacing Lawrence Co. resident, Jerry W. Lambrecht, a dairy farmer and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agent, who retired from the Regional Board on January 27.

“We thank Jerry for his years of dedicated service on our board and he will be missed. As such, Shawna is an important addition as both Mayor of Bedford and resident of Lawrence Co., which is in Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s service area,” said Chancellor Vaughan. “Mayor Girgis has worked together with the college for a number of years to bring educational opportunities to residents of Lawrence Co., and understands Ivy Tech’s mission and the vital role it plays in the communities we serve.”

Mayor Shawna Girgis began her first term in January 2008, and as of January 2012, she is serving her second term in office. She is the first female to hold the office of the Mayor in the City of Bedford. Mayor Girgis is a graduate of Indiana University where she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in social work. She moved back to Lawrence County when her husband, Dr. Kamal Girgis, began his practice in internal medicine.

Before that, in Indianapolis, Mayor Girgis was the program director of Teen Challenge, a residential group home, where she provided individual, group, and family counseling services for residents and their families. She was employed by Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation in Mitchell, Ind. for six years where she served a 21 county region as the director of the Southeast/South Central Area Health Education Center. She served as the executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) and also served on the organization’s Board of Directors for four years. Her most notable accomplishment at IRHA was the development of the Indiana Telehealth Network that resulted in the receipt of a $16 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission to develop a dedicated broadband network to connect rural health care providers and bring fiber infrastructure to rural communities through Indiana.

“I am thrilled to have been appointed to the Ivy Tech-Bloomington Regional Board of Trustees today, and fully support the college’s mission,” said Mayor of Bedford, Shawna Girgis. “With this appointment, I know we can continue to work together to create an increased presence of higher education in Lawrence Co. and more access for our citizens who aspire to become a ready workforce.”

Ivy Tech provides free tax preparation assistance for low-income families

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus, in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service and the City of Bloomington’s Community and Family Resources, are providing free tax information and assistance in electronic filing of federal and Indiana state tax returns for low-to-moderate income households through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

“We completed 755 returns last season at Ivy Tech-Bloomington,” said Steve Englert, accounting program chair. “We estimate that the community saved over $900,000 in tax preparation fees through Free Community Tax Services.”

Ivy Tech students enrolled in income tax accounting classes prepare taxes for free as part of their service learning project. The project provides students with practical experience preparing taxes under the guidance of Ivy Tech accounting faculty, while offering a necessary service to the community.

Volunteers involved in preparing taxes must pass certification tests, which include standards of conduct, basic tax law, and advanced tax law. A total of 18 Ivy Tech income tax students attended tax law and software training, while a total of 68 volunteers from the community also participated.

Free tax preparation assistance at Ivy Tech-Bloomington began on Tuesday, January 27 and will go through March 7 by appointment only. Appointments can be made on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from Noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the main campus in the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building in room B201.

Those seeking assistance will need to bring a valid picture identification for taxpayer and spouse, Social Security Cards and birthdates for self, spouse, and dependents, all W-2, W-2G, and 1099 forms related to income received during the year. If filing jointly, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

To make an appointment for VITA at Ivy Tech-Bloomington, call (812) 332-1559, ext. 0.

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus is located at 200 Daniels Way on the west side of town.