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Fact Check. Work and School: Do they Mix?

By 2020, 60 percent of all jobs in Indiana will require a degree or certificate.

Work and School: Do they Mix?

Check in with your employer if you are thinking about taking classes toward a degree or certificate. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement, so you’ll want to be sure to cash in on that employee benefit.

Taking a job with a college-friendly policy could be a great career move, too. If you’re making a career change, ask a prospective employer whether education is a company value.

Cook Group in Bloomington, for example, has developed My Cook Pathway program which includes partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College, Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Adult Education, and Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit online university. All U.S. Cook employees are eligible for a tuition discount for WGU’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in IT, business, teacher education, and health professions, including nursing. The discount will allow employees to spend as little as $500 for a bachelor’s degree or $800 for a master’s degree per year with the help of Cook’s tuition assistance program.

“With our My Cook Pathway program, Cook has made it a priority to invest in employees through education,” said Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Group and Cook Medical. “Tuition assistance and partnerships with universities like WGU make it possible for more Cook employees to reach their full potential in their careers and in their lives.”

While large employers like Cook are more likely to have formal programs, even in a small office, having a chat with the boss about your education plans can help you make it clear that your overall goal is to improve your career—and the company’s future.

Get Certified

Certificates are the fastest-growing Indiana college credential. Nearly 12,000 were awarded in 2016— more than double the amount awarded five years earlier. Most certificate credits are eligible to be counted toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. The most popular areas of study: business and health-related programs. Check with your employer and local Ivy Tech Community College, an Indiana University or Purdue University regional campus, or independent college or university near you to get more information about certificate programs.

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