COSMOS launches first education SEAL in Indiana

MITCHELL – Three school corporations, in three counties, over the last three years, have worked together on an education plan to help their students enter the workforce.

Now, through those efforts along with several partnerships from educators, businesses, state, and community leaders COSMOS has announced Indiana’s first education SEAL.

COSMOS stands for Collaboration of Shoals, Mitchell, and Orleans Schools with the ultimate goal of preparing students for a career.

SEAL stands for Student Earn And Learn. SEAL will allow students to participate in paid apprenticeships.

SEALS is one of the highest forms of Career and Technical Education available in Indiana.

During a joint presentation, officials provided information on how this program will prepare students for life after high school.

Darrel Zeck, Executive Director Indiana Office of Workforce Based Learning and Apprenticeship

The presentation was held in Mitchell’s historic Emerson Gym.

Those at the presentation included:

  • Jimmy Ellis, Superintendent Orleans Community Schools
  • Brent Comer, Superintendent Mitchell Community Schools
  • Jason Graves Southern Regional Director Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship
  • Darrel Zeck Executive Director Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship
  • Tina Peterson President & CEO Regional Opprotunity Intiatives, Inc.
  • Candance Roush, Superintendent of Shoals Community Schools
Dr. Brent Comer Superintendent Mitchell Community Schools

“COSMOS will be a great way for students to have hands-on experience in the career field of their interest prior to starting their college career. This will ensure that they have indeed chosen the correct career path that will best fit their future. I truly cannot wait to see the program in action and feel very excited about this partnership,” said Whitley Clements, Associate Director, Director, Strategic Development Director, Strategic Development & Special Projects, 21st CCLC program director.

Dr. Jimmy Ellis Supt. Orleans Community Schools

Starting with the class of 2025, students who participate in these programs will receive Ivy Tech dual credits, nationally recognized industry certifications, and opportunities for paid work-based learning with local business partners.

In 2020, the Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and COSMOS began the planning stages of offering two new career and technical education opportunities to students. Typical of the innovative educational practices of COSMOS, the programs are innovative and meet the local economic demands of the region.

Jason Graves Southern Indiana Regional Director Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship

“Small schools are often striving for ways to maintain their own identity but also provide the benefits and course offerings of larger schools. The SEAL initiative between three schools continues to demonstrate that small schools continue to demonstrate that small schools can come together and share programs and resources in a very successful way,” said Superintendent Dr. Candance Roush.

Those partners include Shoals, Mitchell, and Orleans School Corporations, Hoosier Uplands 21st Century Learning Center After-School Programs along with health care partners Trilogy Healthcare and Ascension St. Vincent Dunn.

With a teacher and nursing shortage hitting Indiana, this is a great opprotunity for students to gain career insight and experiences while earning a wage and serving their community.

Education Careers

First Education SEAL in the state, students will begin early field experiences and eventually move to paid positions in the community and local schools. The program is designed in partnership with Indiana University, the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship and Hoosier Uplands 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

This program is striving to become the first registered Education Apprenticeship in the United States.


Students will complete necessary course work to begin work in local area healthcare providers like nursing homes and hospitals and complete essentials pieces for acceptance into RA, LPN, or BSN programs. Both CNA and Dementia certifications will be offered for students in completing vital on the job training and reinforcing industry skills.

Each program will provide at least 12 Ivy Tech dual credits and end with over 500 hours of experience. The Pre-Nursing program was awarded a grant to implement the new Next-Level Programs of Study.

This will be the first Pathway SEAL in the state of Indiana, with over 100 such SEAL programs through out the state which include Auto Tech, Construction, Robotic, and Welding just to name a few.

On The Job Training

Education Careers – Students will complete both unpaid and paid experiences in education that will provide experience in special education, school culture, and classroom instruction.

This will be a perfect program for any student interested in becoming a teacher and changing the lives of young people. This program was designed in coordination with the Indiana University School of Education and is designed to continue after high school graduation and into college.