Wayne Township Adult Education Honored for Career Training Innovation

Leaders of a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) have added Wayne Township Adult Education’s career training initiatives to their list of innovative practices.

The project, called Advancing Innovation in Adult Education, is led by Manhattan Strategy Group, and funded by the USDOE’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. The project aims to highlight adult education providers who use creative approaches that help adult learners transition to further education and employment.

Wayne Township Adult Education’s Career Training programming began in 2017 with a three- student pilot program in MicroSoft Office. Today, the program engages 300 students each year in nine career pathways. Those pathways are medical assisting, dental assisting, sterile processing technician, pharmacy technician, accounting, welding, heating and cooling, truck driving, and teaching assistant.

“When our adults are winning, our children are winning,” said MSD of Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts. The MSD of Wayne Township oversees Wayne Township Adult Education (WTAE).

“National research has shown that on average, adult education graduates will earn $6,000 more a year than non-graduates,” said Dr. Butts. “By supporting adult education, our children live richer lives because their parents are advancing educationally and vocationally. Our parents are modeling success for their children.”

Through the district’s Area 31 Career Center, WTAE students gain access to classrooms that are outfitted with industry equipment and supplies.

“Our district is determined to use all of our assets to elevate the education of both our children and our adults,” said Dr. Patrick Biggerstaff, director of the Career Center. “By honoring this dual purpose, our career center is an excellent steward of resources maximizing the impact for the State of Indiana.  It’s very important to leverage the district’s relationships at all levels of programming to mobilize adults into our Adult Education classes.”

WTAE Coordinator Christy McIntyre-Gray and her team point to the importance of strong connections with industry partners such as Duncan Supply and IU Health.  “Through genuine employer partnerships,” said Mrs. McIntyre-Gray, “our students are advancing in an academic environment that is responsive to industry standards. This ensures our students are prepared with knowledge, technical skills, and the required professionalism to enter the workforce successfully.”

The USDOE selected nine programs from across the nation to add to its list of innovative practices in its Advancing Innovation in Adult Education project. Leaders of the project believed WTAE’s Integrated Education and Training (IET) classes to be particularly innovative. These classes offer training in a range of occupations, including healthcare and construction management, that lead to industry-recognized credentials. Learners are paired with a life coach who provides advice and support in addressing barriers such as transportation and childcare.

WTAE has been able to build this high-level programming due to the investment and support from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s IET and Workforce Education Initiative funding supported by the Indiana General Assembly.  This program also has the support of the Indianapolis City-County Council and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) dollars to elevate workforce training on the west side of Indianapolis. “Without this significant contribution, these program outcomes would not have been possible,” said Mrs. McIntyre-Gray. “This program is elevating community members’ income and that, in return, is building a stronger contribution to the city’s tax base.”

To explore WTAE’s profile in innovation, visit the Advancing Innovation in Adult Education project at https://lincs.ed.gov/state-resources/federal-initiatives/advancing-innovation/explore.

Those interested in starting classes with WTAE may visit adulted.info to get started.


The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township provides multiple pathways to success for more than 16,000 students, preschool through high school. Located on the west side of Indianapolis, MSD Wayne works in partnership with the Wayne Township community to help every learner achieve excellence.  To learn more about MSD Wayne, visit www.wayne.k12.in.us, or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/msdwaynetownship/ and Twitter @WayneTwpSchools and @WayneTwpSuper.