The state of Indiana is one of the country's largest industrial and manufacturing centers, particularly in the fields of automobile assembly, life sciences, steel production, energy and national security, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation reports. Many of the country's top advanced-manufacturing companies are headquartered in Indiana, including Steel Dynamics, ArcelorMittal, Allison Transmission, Rolls-Royce, Roche, Cummins and Toyota. Companies are drawn to the state due to its robust and centrally located transportation network, low business tax rates, favorable business environment and skilled workforce.
Vocational education trends in Indiana
Students who wish to enter Indiana's workforce may wish to enroll in Indiana vocational schools or Indiana trade schools to prepare to work in one of Indiana's busy sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), the following sectors showed strongest employment in the state in March of 2016:
- Trade, transportation and utilities: 591,800 jobs
- Manufacturing: 515,900 jobs
- Education and health services: 462,200 jobs
- Government: 429,200 jobs
- Professional and business services: 320,700 jobs
An associate degree can be a quick route to an education, often only requiring two years of coursework and helping students to develop career-ready skills. In Indiana, just 8.59 percent of adults age 25 to 64 hold an associate degree although many more have completed some college, but no degree at all, according to The Lumina Foundation. Diplomas and certificates are other options at community colleges and vo-tech schools. Below are more details about some of the key employment segments in Indiana:
- Trade, transportation and utilities: Everyone knows that smart technology and the Internet of things is the current hot tech ticket. These will effect everything from how energy use is monitored in the home to how transportation is utilized, whether that's through energy-efficient buses or self-driving cars. Pursuing an associate degree in applied electronics or learning more about supply chain management could provide different opportunities to hit the career field running.
- Education and health services: This sector has seen continual growth for the past year and more, increasing from 448,300 employed in the sector just a year ago to 462,200 now. There are many opportunities for two-year degrees at the vocational level, ranging from early childhood care to physical therapy assisting, phlebotomy, medical equipment repairer and even licensed vocational nurse (LVN). These degrees can provide entry-level opportunities in the field with minimal investment education, but also be a launching board to continue on to four-year programs if desired.
- Manufacturing: Indiana boasts a number of significant manufacturing companies, including Raytheon (defense), Nestle USA, ConAgra Foods, Knauf Insulation, and more. There also are associate degrees in manufacturing that can be pursued, including in industrial and manufacturing engineering (IME), aviation manufacturing, manufacturing production and operations, and others. Some of these, like the IME degree, can be directly rolled into a four-year program, while others already offer students the opportunity to develop career-ready skills.
Career info for Indiana trade school graduates
Indiana could be a good place to settle down and enter straight into a career, especially if you're already attending trade school in Indiana. The state has a presence in just about every skilled-labor industry imaginable, according to the state's economic development group, including the production of:
- Transportation equipment
- Coal products
- Heavy machinery
The Calumet region in northwestern Indiana is the largest steel-producing region in the U.S. Steel products are shipped via the Grand Calumet River to Lake Michigan. Additionally, the BLS reports some of the following data for jobs in Indiana:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage||Projected Employment Change|
|Public Relations Specialists||3650||46310||27,400|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||3790||39390||46,200|
|Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers||48740||39380||192,600|
Students who wish to pursue careers in these in-demand fields and others may wish to enroll in Indiana vocational schools or Indiana trade schools to train for a real-world career.
Financial aid in Indiana
The first step to seeking financial aid in Indiana is filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) paperwork. If eligible for this aid, you can be the recipient of loans, grants or work-study funding coming from the U.S. Department of Education, which is the biggest provider of student financial aid in the country. There al many other options available to students seeking financial aid in the state, too. Some of these Indiana financial aid opportunities include:
- Indiana Commission for Higher Education - Need-based financial aid awards are given through this state institution. Need is based on information disclosed in the student's FAFSA form as well as other factors.
- Frank O'Bannon Grant - This need-based grant is awarded to students to apply toward tuition and fees at a public, private or proprietary-based school. Applying students must plan to enroll in college full-time.
- 21st Century Scholarship - This scholarship covers up to four-years of undergraduate tuition at a public institution or a comparable amount at a private school. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 high school GPA.
- Minority Teacher Scholarship - Teaching scholarships are available to minority students planning to teach in the state for three years following graduation. Applications should be filled out for the William A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship.
The costs for tuition and fees vary in the state depending on where you choose to go to school. However, the College Board reports the following averages for in-state tuition and fees at:
- Public two-year schools: $4,324
- Public four-year schools: $9,120
Factors that can help decrease the cost of higher education include applying as an in-state student, attending school close to home, and commuting rather than living on campus. You could also look for as many scholarships as possible, buy used books and other items, and even carpool to school.
- "Indiana: A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education," The Lumina Foundation, 2012, http://www.in.gov/che/files/IN_-_A_Stronger_Nation.pdf
- "Indiana State & County QuickFacts," U.S. Census Bureau, 2016, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/18000.html
- Industry Sectors, Indiana State Development Corporation, accessed July 1, 2014, http://iedc.in.gov/indiana-info/industry-sectors
- "Indiana Economy at a Glance," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.in.htm5. "Indianapolis Region: Largest Manufacturers," November 2014, http://indychamber.com/files/2714/1901/2367/Largest_Manufacturers.pdf
- "Indiana State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm7. "Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time, The College Board, no date, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-over-time