Indiana Pinnacle Award Nomination: WorkINdiana

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: David Shatkowski


Agency Name: Indiana Department of Workforce Development



We have chosen the primary focus of this initiative as the innovative services. The WorkINdiana program for adult education students provides access to short-term training opportunities that lead to industry-recognized credentials in high-wage, high demand occupations. This program requires partnerships among adult education centers, career and technical education centers, WorkOne offices, community colleges, and local economic development representatives. Together, these partners determine the careers most relevant to their local areas and work to implement the requisite training programs. Students can choose from over 45 certifications including Advanced Manufacturing, Business Administration, Construction, Health Care, Hospitality, Information Technology, and Transportation and Logistics.

WorkINdiana is funded through state grants provided by Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to all 12 economic growth regions. Funding is competitive, and is used primarily for an eligible participant's training tuition and directly related supportive services. WorkINdiana grantees are required to offer employment services to eligible participants by partnering with local employers to provide workforce preparation, interviews, job shadowing, internships, paid or unpaid work experiences, and/or job placement. WorkINdiana grantees are allowed funding to cover supportive services costs for eligible participants. Supportive costs may cover, but are not limited to: child care, transportation, and occupation related physicals, vaccinations, materials, and clothing.

WorkINdiana is a DWD initiative designed to help working-age adults who lack a high school diploma or equivalent to quickly move their lives in a new direction, while simultaneously helping local businesses find the talent they need. At the core of this model is the understanding that students often need more than tuition to be successful. Among tuition costs, WorkINdiana provides supportive services and funding for non-tuition costs to ensure participants aren't taken off-course by an unexpected expense, such as equipment, which could be vital to their specific training and ultimately their success. In addition, WorkINdiana ensures participants are receiving necessary assessments, guidance, and follow-up services to ensure they are academically prepared and on a career path that is best suited for them and their family. WorkINdiana is more than a tuition assistance program—it is a game changer in knocking down barriers for our working aged adults who are in need of financial and non-financial supports. It changes lives and our economy for the better.


Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

The goal of WorkINdiana has continually been to help provide adult education students (and more recently JAG graduates) a pathway to earn a certification in an in-demand and industry-recognized certification. Since inception (August 2011), the WorkINdiana program has enrolled over 8,000 participants, providing a pathway for over 6,500 students to complete a training, with over 5,300 students earning a certification in an industry-recognized, in-demand occupation. The 2017-2018 program year is finishing at a 90 percent completion rate and an 86.5 percent certification rate. The average tuition and supportive service cost was $2,572 per enrollment. These results have put the WorkINdiana program among the leaders of similar programs in the nation in all of those aforementioned areas


Other significant contributions 

We think the secondary focus should be national impact—our primary focus touches on both innovative services and service delivery. Nationally, the program prepares participants for opportunities both within and outside of the state of Indiana, while also serving as a model program for other states to emulate. For example, intentional screening is done to make sure participants are both academically and career prepared for the chosen certification as well as ongoing career coaching and counseling that is offered before during and after completion of the program. These services have proven to adequately prepare students who have gone through the WorkINdiana program to be ready to successfully proceed the selected training program and to be ready to immediately contribute to their employer upon completion.


Examples of work