Through a collaboration of the City of Frankfort, the Community Schools of Frankfort, Ivy Tech Community College and Center Township, a new program entitled “Frankfort Promise” was unveiled at the State of the City address at Arborwood Thursday afternoon to help those students who didn’t think college was for them.
Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes said he was very excited about this program.
“Taking a portion of TIF funds that industries are paying — property taxes that from our industries — making the commitment to any student that graduates with a high school equivalency degree in the city of Frankfort, that after they go through the process with Ivy Tech, that the City of Frankfort will partner with Center Township and come in with the last dollars in to guarantee that individual gets a certificate or degree, we’re going to ask them to commit to the Frankfort workforce for a number of years, complete community service hours and be a mentor for young people,” said McBarnes. “I think Frankfort Promise will be a good investment program.”
Center Township Trustee Kevin Evans said he intent of the program is to give back to the community.
“The goal of the program is to be able to have students going into our factories and being able to provide the skills needed to work in these factories because we really have a problem with that currently as far as getting skilled workers into our factories,” said Evans. “The program looks at the student who thought being in college was never an option for them. It really says that in the community of Frankfort, we’re thinking higher.”
Evans said all the players in this venture got together three weeks ago to see if this program could be launched.
Ivy Tech Chancellor David Bathe said the program shows how special Frankfort is.
“I think the most important and the most significant thing is that the elected officials here recognize that the most important factor you have for the future is the human resources and they are willing not only to invest in the streets and roads and the companies coming in and expanding here, but to invest in the human capital which will ultimately build the community,” said Bathe. “We are happy to help participate in this and happy to be involved.I’m grateful for the great vision that exists here in Frankfort.”
For Ivy Tech Foundation President John Murphy said this was something he hadn’t seen before.
“I can’t tell you how excited Ivy Tech is with this opportunity,” said Murphy. “We’re going to put students into school that we might have had the opportunity to get and the fact that these folks are stepping up and going to pay for any residual balance on their account is a first. We haven’t seen this before.”
Murphy was asked how he characterized the partnership Ivy Tech has with the City of Frankfort.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Murphy. “The coming together of the Ivy Tech and the City of Frankfort over the last five or seven years has been unprecedented. Our partnership goes above and beyond education and government. It’s almost family here.”