Ivy Tech Community College of Terre Haute/Greencastle has launched a partnership with Next Step Foundation to provide an education pathway and comprehensive support for individuals in recovery to broaden their education and potentially earn their workforce credential or associate degree. Next Step Foundation and Ivy Tech received significant investments from local partners to launch this collaborative program including the United Way of the Wabash Valley and Thompson Thrift.

“Through the work of our Substance Use Disorder Impact Council, we know successful, long-term recovery of those battling addiction is supported by four components: health, home, purpose, and community,” noted Abby Desboro, co-executive director for United Way of the Wabash Valley. “This collaboration between Next Step and Ivy Tech will help provide purpose for an individual’s journey in long-term recovery through career exploration and meaningful employment.”

Next Step will begin phase one of a five-year pilot program in the spring of 2023 with the launch of their educational program, which includes hiring a program coordinator who will work with Next Step clients to ensure they achieve high school equivalency and receive personalized enrichment activities focused on college and career readiness.

“More than 60% of our clients served during the past two years did not have a high school diploma or equivalency,” noted Dana Simons, executive director for Next Step. “The educational programming we’ll offer our clients will be individualized to the client’s needs and career interests and ambitions. With our close partnership with Ivy Tech, we’ll be able to ensure our clients are college ready and poised to complete their certificate or degree successfully.”


Next Step plans to enroll 30-50 individuals annually in their educational program. Upon successful completion, those who are interested in continuing their education at Ivy Tech can apply for acceptance into a unique scholarship program. Students accepted into the scholarship program will be part of a small group of individuals with similar life experiences, known as a cohort.

“The cohort model for this scholarship program will allow students to connect with and encourage each other,” added Rachel Mullinnix, executive director for the Ivy Tech Foundation. “Additionally, with a dedicated coordinator to oversee the scholarship program, the students will receive personalized and comprehensive support like mentoring and professional and career development programming throughout their time at Ivy Tech. In addition, students will receive a monthly living stipend to help alleviate the stress of paying for college costs.”

Representatives from Ivy Tech and Next Step anticipate a total need of $650,000 to support the five-year pilot program. To date, $325,000 has been secured thanks to the United Way of the Wabash Valley and Thompson Thrift.

“In working closely with Next Step over the last five years, it was apparent that access to education and training could make a significant difference in the lives of these courageous individuals,” said Paul Thrift, CEO of Thompson Thrift. “I would like nothing better than to see our gift serve as a catalyst for individuals in recovery to pursue career-building skills from Ivy Tech that align with purposeful careers. When community members find success, our whole community thrives.”

Ivy Tech looks to award 10 individuals the opportunity to join the scholarship program and start classes in the Fall of 2023 to earn the career-focused certificate or associate degree. Ivy Tech offers nearly 50 programs that all lead to high-demand careers here in the Wabash Valley. To learn more about this education and career development partnership between Ivy Tech and Next Step, contact Ivy Tech Foundation Executive Director Rachel Mullinnix at rmullinnix@ivytech.edu or Next Step Foundation Executive Director Dana Simons at dana@nextsteptoday.org.

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.