Community partners and Ivy Tech Northeast provide training for local refugees, celebrate scholar program success

Several community partners have quickly turned an idea into a success that’s producing contributing members of our local economy. The Ivy Tech Refugee Scholar Program, which officially began this spring, celebrated its first 11 students who have completed coursework toward earning a certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN). Each individual earned 15 college credits and will take the state examination Tuesday in order to begin a medical career as a CNA. At a recent completion celebration, the graduates (from Burma, Congo, and Vietnam) tearfully s hared their deep gratitude for this program, their difficult person al journeys, and their joy at their accomplishments.

Sanda Marlow, originally from Myanmar (formerly Burma), was part of the first group of students to complete coursework. Her family still lives overseas, so she is here mostly alone in northeast Indiana. “It will improve my future a lot,” Marlow says, and she laughs. “It will be a very good help for me because I am a zero now, so at least I can become a hero after (training).”

In December 2013, several community partners announced the launch of Ivy Tech’s Refugee Scholar Program, which officially began this spring. Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, Catherine Kasper Place, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, Fort Wayne – Allen County Department of Health, Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, Parkview Health, and St. Anne’s Home all teamed up to establish better career pathways for refugees out of poverty and into the workforce. Some students will stop after receiving their certificate, Chenoweth says, while others will want to continue on and become a nurse.

“At the same time while they are using their language skills, they are learning a healthcare profession,” says Cindy Chenoweth, program chair of Health Care Support. “Once they receive their certification, maybe they will be able to go out and find employment.”

“Our hope is for current refugee funding to stay in place. In addition to the CAN Health Careers program, Ivy Tech Northeast would like to offer a Refugee Scholars Program for manufacturing, specific training for CNC operators,” says Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier. “This program addition would help address a significant need in the workforce for the local manufacturing community. “

The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement through Indiana’s Family & Social Services Administration has provided a $250,000 contract to educate refugees who have been in the country at least six months and less than five years in trades for which they might be employable within twelve months. The contract is officially under a supported ministry of the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, Catherine Kasper Place, and the Foundation staff manages this program. The contract is effective October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.  The model chosen is based on the nationally recognized I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) program which Ivy Tech Community College Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier, Ed.D., has experience in developing in the state of Washington.

“The refugee scholar program offers newly arriving refugees the chance to participate in training and education that not only creates economic stability for themselves and their family, but also helps to diversify our healthcare workforce,” says Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan, MD. “When an individual moves up the education and employment ladder, our community moves up as well.”

On Friday, July 25, the second cohort of five students from Haiti, Burma and Congo will graduate. The special ceremony will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Ivy Tech’s Coliseum Campus (3800 N. Anthony Blvd., Fort Wayne) in Room 1640.  A third cohort is being offered to six students in Indianapolis from Burma, Syria, Egypt, and Afghanistan.   These students are scheduled to take the CNA examination on August 12.

“Plans are to continue the Ivy Tech Refugee Scholars into the 2014-15 academic year,” says Cindy Chenoweth, program coordinator. “The CNA refugee scholars will again be offered, as it provides an effective pathway into health careers and addresses a local need for more certified nursing assistants.”

The largest threat facing this program is the recent redirecting of the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement funds from proven refugee resettlement strategies to the unaccompanied minors at the border.  Recently, 58 percent of all federal refugee funds for the upcoming year have been cut and re-directed to address the needs of unaccompanied minors.  Programs like the Ivy Tech Refugee Scholars are at risk, even though they are effectively putting people into the local labor force.


  • Classes take place at the Parkview Hospital Randallia campus to allow program participants to become familiar and comfortable in a potential work, healthcare environment.
  • Parkview’s Extended Care and St. Anne’s Nursing Home provide clinical practicum and exposure to the actual work.
  • An August Job Fair will assist with job placement upon successful training completion.
  • Program participants have to pass a language assessment to assure proficiency at a level, which will allow successful course completion and job readiness.
  • Participants may be anyone 16 years or older who meet the definition of a refugee having been in the country between 6 months and 5 years.  Recruitment will come from all parts of the community (and in Indianapolis for one session).  This is not limited to high school students and/or Burmese refugees.
  • 100 percent of the costs for training are covered including all books, curriculum fees, uniforms, and related supplies.
  • Up to 36 refugees (inclusive of Fort Wayne and Indianapolis Ivy Tech campuses) will earn CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certifications that will assist them in leading to employment inclusive of having passed course content exams; achieved sufficient English language skills to be effective in the workplace; and received acculturation assistance to understand how to successfully participate in the American workforce.
  • Successful participants will earn 12–15 college course credits.
  • Strategy provides a regular curriculum that enables refugees in multiple resettlement communities in Indiana to earn certifications and advance their education to assist them in successfully settling into Indiana communities.
  • It’s a national best practice and demonstrates how federal job development training funds (both refugee and non-refugee specific) may be used successfully to prepare refugees and other vulnerable populations for careers in workforce.
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Ivy Tech Community College Northeast to host annual Ford and Mustang show

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast is hosting the Old Fort Mustangers’ Annual Ford and Mustang Show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19 at the Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd. The awards ceremony will start at 3 p.m.

The show is free to College employees and $2 for the public. Children younger than 10 get in free.

The event is expected to draw more than 500 car enthusiasts from around the country, and Ivy Tech Northeast has hosted the show for more than 30 years. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Ivy Tech Foundation for a scholarship for an automotive student.

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Ivy Tech Northeast receives $200K grant from the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has awarded Ivy Tech Community College Northeast a $199,977 grant to develop a new microsystems certificate program at the College.

Andrew Bell, the engineering department chair, is working with the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education, based out of the University of New Mexico, to develop the program. The university is the center for microsystems technology—small, like nanotechnology, but on a larger scale—and it has been working with the College for two years on microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS.

Students in the engineering programs at Ivy Tech Northeast would be able to earn this microsystems certificate (which does not yet have an official name) on the way to their associate degree. Once they take the necessary coursework, they would be eligible to sit in on the Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench, or LabVIEW, certification exam. This is a nationally recognized test.

“Many companies are looking for people who have LabVIEW experience,” Bell says. “It should help our students get a job. It should make our relationships with local industries stronger because we’re specifically training technicians to do what (the industries) want them to do. It’s really an exciting thing.”

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Ivy Tech Northeast receives software donations

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast is the recent recipient of academic software donations from the Collision Repair Education Foundation. CREF has donated $125,700 worth of collision estimating software for student use from two separate companies, Audatex ($100,700) and the Certified Collateral Corporation ($25,000).

The collision-industry software teaches students to complete damage analyses and write estimates for motor vehicle repairs. The software comes with a one-year subscription and is kept accessible via monthly renewals.

“I’m happy to receive it,” says assistant instructor Jaron Grayless. “The software provides the skills employers need from our students.”

Ivy Tech Northeast has been honored with several donations and student scholarships from the CREF during the past three years.

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Ivy Tech Northeast early childhood faculty member awarded statewide fellowship



Ivy Tech Community College Northeast faculty member Cynthia Kumfer was recently approved by Indiana Campus Compact to take part in its Faculty Fellows program. The Indiana Campus Compact is a network of 42 college campuses providing programs, services, and resources that emphasize service-learning and community engagement. Kumfer is a faculty member in Early Childhood Education and is a former advisor with IvyAEYC, or Ivy Tech Northeast’s branch of the Association for the Education of Young Children, the Early Childhood Education student organization.

The Indiana Campus Connect Faculty Fellows program will recognize Kumfer as a member of its 19th class of Fellows for the state of Indiana. The fellowship is accompanied by funding in the amount of $3,750 through the “Fostering Effective Partnerships to Further Service in Indiana Higher Education—Phase II” grant provided by the Lilly Endowment Inc. to Indiana Campus Compact. Funding is paid out to the fellow in installments depending on the completion of the program.

The fellowship program will begin July 1, 2014, and continue through May 31, 2015. In addition to three mandatory retreats, members are provided opportunities to engage with various community institutions in hopes of addressing social, economic, and environmental issues throughout the one-year term.

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Memorial scholarship receives endowed funding at Ivy Tech Northeast

The Ivy Tech Foundation at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has received an endowed gift from Mike Hunnicutt and his family to establish the Jerin & Caleb Hunnicutt Memorial Scholarship.

Jerin and Caleb, Mike’s sons, were from Huntington County. Jerin, 28, died in his Huntington home in 2009; Caleb, 24, died in 2010 in Chicago, where he was living. Hunnicutt is funding the scholarship at Ivy Tech Northeast as a legacy for them. This fall, there will be a $500 scholarship available.

The criteria to receive the scholarship are as follows:

  • The scholarship will be distributed to one who exhibits the greatest financial need and/or merit.
  • The student should have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
  • The student must be associate degree-seeking and enrolled in his or her second semester of program-level classes, or later. The student can also have completed one semester of study at any other college or university.
  • Applicants must be a resident of Huntington County or have attended school there.
  • The student should be 21 years or older. (preferred)
  • The student should submit a 200- to 300-word essay discussing his or her community service, volunteerism, or good works. (preferred)

More details are available at

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State officials to discuss Healthy Indiana Plan at Ivy Tech

Officials from Gov. Mike Pence’s administration will be in Fort Wayne on Monday detailing the governor’s plan to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) to cover approximately 350,000 Hoosiers. Ivy Tech Community College Northeast will host the conversation about the future of health care in Indiana, featuring State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D., and Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser.

Last month, Pence announced his plans to advance private, market-based Medicaid reforms in Indiana by expanding the current Healthy Indiana Plan. Pence unveiled HIP 2.0, a consumer-driven health care coverage program for low-income adults that builds on Indiana’s history of consumer-driven health care while providing new incentives for members to take personal responsibility for their health.

The event is open to the public, and will take place at 1 p.m. June 9 in the Student Life Center, Room 121, on Ivy Tech’s North Campus, 3701 Dean Drive in Fort Wayne.

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