In September 2010, Ivy Tech Community College Chancellor J. Guadalupe Valtierra introduced plans for an institute to train students in health care careers. A year later, students were enrolling in classes.
An estimated 44,000 people in Northwest Indiana are employed in the health industry, and not just as doctors or nurses.
"Ivy Tech thought it made sense. If there's a need, let's train people," said LaShung Willis, director of the Health Industry Institute for Education and Training Services at Ivy Tech.
That initiative officially began in November 2010, and an advisory board was created in March, Willis said.
A three-year plan has been developed to create the institute, but classes are already available in some areas through a partnership with an online course provider. Students may enroll in classes for pharmacy technician, medical transcription, medical coding and billing and medical administrative assistant
The institute also expects to offer on-site, short-term health classes soon. Those classes include Exploring Health Industry Careers, Achieving Service Excellence: Strategies for Health Care, Human Resources in Health Care, Ethics in the Health Industry and Introduction to Health Care Quality Management.
Darrell Riddell, regional computer information systems department chairman for Ivy Tech, enrolled in a health IT course in September. He said the six-month, online class will help him better understand what students will be offered. Riddell said the basic infrastructure of medical IT is similar to IT in any corporate setting, but the software and applications are different, as well as some of the legal aspects, such as HIPPA.
Willis said the institute is growing steadily, already securing partnerships with Walgreens and Fagen pharmacies. She's also been contacting area high school counselors with information about the institute they can pass along to students interested in health care fields.
"(In the future) I would hope we're a major trainer for the health care system and able to provide the workforce for the changes that are happening," Willis said.