While working as a parking cashier at the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) in 2021, Tremayne Agnew was ready to return to school. But he wasn’t in any rush as he was already sitting on $30,000 in student loan debt. 

“I really didn’t want to accumulate anymore,” Agnew said. 

Luckily, that fall, the airport became one of the first two companies to participate in the Advance with Ivy Tech initiative, forming an employer partnership between Ivy Tech Indianapolis and the IAA. Through the partnership, the College and IAA set out to train, skill, and upskill IAA employees to help them advance in their careers.

Once Agnew caught wind of the new partnership and learned that his employer allowed any of its employees to earn associate degrees and certifications from Ivy Tech Indianapolis with zero up-front cost, he began looking for the nearest Ivy Tech Enrollment Center

“It was the perfect opportunity for me to take advantage of and eliminate the risk of continuing to accumulate more student loan debt,” Agnew said. 

The long-time IAA employee dreamed of becoming a chef, so he enrolled in culinary classes. 

Determined, the third-shift parking lot attendant took advantage of the slow nights at work, where he would do his homework. Then, as the sun rose and his shift ended, he would prepare for his morning classes on the Downtown Indianapolis campus in the Culinary and Conference Center.

“I really enjoyed all of my culinary classes because we got hands-on experience at the school,” Agnew said. 

After earning his certification in Culinary Arts in 2022, Agnew didn’t stop there and enrolled in Ivy Tech’s School of Business, Logistics, and Supply Chain to earn his associate degree in accounting and another certificate in business administration.

“One day, I want to have my own restaurant. Since I want to go into business, I felt like accounting and business administration all go together. And it would give me a head start in the business sector. I wouldn’t have to hire an accountant, for example, because I would have the necessary skills to do it myself,” Agnew said. 

And now, two years later, Agnew is celebrating many milestones. Not only is he celebrating his 10th year of employment with IAA, but he has earned a Culinary Arts certificate, a Business Administration certificate, and an Associate of Science degree in Accounting. 

Tremayne says he is thankful for the partnership between Ivy Tech and IAA because it allowed him to continue his higher education journey, burden-free. 

“I always look forward to doing something when I get off of work. Going to school at Ivy Tech Indianapolis keeps me focused. It keeps me out of the streets. It keeps me doing something, and keeps me productive,” Agnew said. 

Mario Rodriguez, IAA Executive Director and CEO, says higher education journeys, such as Agnew’s, prove investing in your employees drives the economy. 

“Our partnership with Ivy Tech is the best we could ever have because it simply develops the most important part of our organization, which is human capital,” Rodriguez said. “Everything in our organization revolves around human capital. That is the single most important thing. Because buildings don’t get built on their own. Things don’t just get done on their own. It takes an incredibly talented group of people to do what we do.”

Under his leadership, the Indianapolis International Airport has been named “Best Airport in North America” for over a decade. Rodriguez, who is also on the Campus Board of Trustees at Ivy Tech Indianapolis, says it's vital that IAA invests in its employees and that “it's the right thing to do.”

“Ivy Tech has given us the opportunity to offer IAA employees the ability to better themselves without any barriers,” Rodriguez said. “Our employees can earn a certificate in anything and everything. We need mechanics, we do. We need technical certificates like electrical and plumbing, yes. But education for the sake of education makes people better. And if we can make our organization better by doing that, we will do it.”

Dr. Stacy Atkinson, Indianapolis’ Interim Chancellor, says the Indianapolis campus of Ivy Tech is lucky to have an organization such as IAA in our backyard. 

“It only makes sense that we could do something as great as a partnership with the Indianapolis International Airport for our students. Our students are excited to be here. And it’s great when our students get to walk around and see a gigantic Ivy Tech logo that’s the place of their enrollment at the place of their employment,” Dr. Atkinson said. 

Now, Agnew is looking to pursue a bachelor's degree from Western Governors University in accounting or finance. He also plans to maintain his employment at IAA. 

You can learn more about Ivy Tech’s employer partnerships by visiting the Achieve Your Degree page when you visit ivytech.edu

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.