High-quality jobs that are emerging with employers in Northwest Indiana require specific credentials beyond high school. Our commitment is to ensure that our high school students graduate academically, socially, and financially prepared to go directly to further education without the need for remediation and to obtain degrees and other certifications that directly meet the needs of Northwest Indiana employers. We are also committed to presenting a full range of affordable post-high school education and training options so that no student is denied access to the education that will be needed for acquiring high-quality jobs in the region.


READY NWI is an acronym for Regional Education and Employer Alliance for Developing Youth in Northwest Indiana.


In both strong and weak economies employers consistently report difficulties in finding employees with the skills, knowledge, and abilities demanded by the 21st Century global economy. Many of these businesses have trouble filling open jobs for high skill/high wage positions due in large part to a fundamental misalignment between the skills of job applicants and the increasing skill levels employers need. Specifically, employers need workers with sound literacy, numeracy, and computer skills, along with professional workplace skills that include critical thinking problem solving, and the ability to work in teams and adapt to rapid changes in technology as lifelong learners.

The new Indiana high school graduation requirements present a unique opportunity to advance the READY NWI goals by engaging employers as full partners with K-12 schools and colleges, blending classroom learning with real-world applications in the workplace. Northwest Indiana schools are committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities with new internships, community service experiences, work ethic certifications, projects designed by employers, and other means. Employers will be presented with new and exciting options for direct engagement with schools, students, counselors, and teachers. All students will use a career planning platform that will guide academic and work experience choices.


READY NWI has a long record of success in the region, which has placed Northwest Indiana in a position to rapidly implement new graduation requirements and to provide a common language to connect employers and educators. The initial Ready to Work-Ready to Hire: College & Career Readiness Plan for Northwest Indiana was developed in 2012 with assistance from the Lumina Foundation.

In 2014, the READY NWI coalition was invited to join Lumina’s national network of regions committed to the “Big Goal” of 60% post-high school credential attainment by 2025. The Northwest Indiana Charter document was created at that time. Both documents can be found under our Reports and Resources tab. The preparation of these plans served to create new relationships and trust among partners, leading to the positioning of Northwest Indiana educators to drive the talent development agenda within the context of broader regional economic development goals.


  • Increasing the number of Northwest Indiana residents who have post-secondary credentials by over 200,000 by 2025 to keep pace with job creation and skill demands
  • Building and nurturing alliances among colleges, businesses, economic and workforce development organizations, employers, and local elected officials to fulfill the plan
  • Recommendations to strengthen the assessment system for grades 7-12 to align with business expectations and to provide year-to-year student planning that integrates academic and career plans
  • Recommendations for whole-school models and interventions to ensure the success of each student
  • Giving students a head start on acquiring post-high school credentials they will need for success:
  • Making sure students will not need remediation to move to further training
  • Assisting students in obtaining college credits and industry certifications while still in high school
  • Ensuring rigor in awarding college credits (dual credits/early college) while students are in high school
  • Increasing the “stack-ability” of credentials so that all credits can be applied to future degrees
  • Increasing the capacity of the region’s teachers to provide rigorous and relevant instruction, particularly in science, math and technology courses identified as high priority by colleges and employers in the region
  • Engaging our region’s employers to ensure that our high school graduates are informed about job opportunities and skill pathways that will qualify students for high-quality jobs in the region