Ivy Tech Indianapolis Partners with Tea’s Me Café and Real Taste Catering to Bring Enhanced Food Options to Campus and the Local Community

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis today announced a community-focused partnership with Tea’s Me Café and Real Taste Catering that promises to bring new life and enhanced food offerings to their campus and the local community.

The partnership was officially revealed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Ivy Tech Indianapolis and included remarks from the owner of Tea’s Me Café, Tamika Catchings, owner of Real Taste Catering, Mark Webster, and Chancellor of Ivy Tech Indianapolis, Dr. Lorenzo L Esters.

“Our goal is to provide a local destination for our community to come together … to gather, eat, and engage with one another, and we are doing that through expanded and improved food service options and hours,” said Esters. “We want our students and employees, as well as our neighbors, to be able to stop by and grab a bite to eat with friends and family. We want our neighbors to have a communal meeting space for their organizations. We want Ivy Tech Indianapolis to truly be considered a community neighbor and partner.”

Last fall, Indianapolis campus leadership began exploring new service providers for their food court, presenting a unique opportunity to think differently about how the College can better serve its staff, faculty, and students, in addition to its neighbors. With their Indianapolis location (at the intersection of Meridian Street and Fall Creek Parkway) being in a food desert, campus leaders quickly responded by collaborating with food service partners that shared their vision of elevating the Indianapolis community.  

“I am passionate about young people, our future, and our future leaders, and believe that a lot of them will come from the Ivy Indy campus,” said Tamika Catchings, owner, of Tea’s Me Café, 4x Olympic Gold Medalist, Hall of Famer, and founder of the Catch the Stars Foundation. “Tea’s Me Café is working collaboratively with Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ staff and faculty to provide opportunities to employ students and partner with their amazing Culinary Arts Program on some initiatives in the future. For me, it’s all about the student experience and providing opportunities for the younger generation.”

“I take great pride in providing quality food to my customers. For over 25 years, Real Taste Catering has been honored to serve the Indianapolis community, and I can’t think of a better way for us to immerse ourselves even further than right in the heart of it all—Ivy Tech Indianapolis. We look forward to being a part of the Ivy Indy Family because we believe in “Working Together Works,” said Mark Webster, owner, of Real Taste Catering a lifelong Indianapolis resident.

About Real Taste Catering

For over 25 years, Real Taste Catering (RTC) has served the Indianapolis Community offering catering services for on-site or off-site catering- weddings, birthday parties, church events, schools, family reunions, corporate events, company picnics, and other large-scale events.  They also offer a variety of food service management services working with a variety of organizations such as cafeterias, corporate contracts, Indiana Black Expo, and Circle City Classic, and RTC provides student meals under the guidelines of USDA School Lunch Programs and has provided school food service for over 19 years to local schools and daycare centers. For more information, visit www.realtastecatering.com. Follow Real Taste Catering on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Real Taste Catering Food Court Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

About Tea’s Me Café

Tea’s Me Café is a local favorite, awarded the Best of Indianapolis, Best Tea House in 2020. They specialize in providing the best loose-leaf tea sourced from all over the world. Guests enjoy a variety of healthy loose-leaf teas, great food, and a classy ambiance. Tamika Catchings, 4x Olympic Gold Medalist, Hall of Famer, and founder of the Catch the Stars Foundation, purchased Tea’s Me Cafe in 2017 when she found out the original owners were planning to close the business. As a community advocate, the Café’s goal is to not only serve the community food and beverages but also to provide additional programming and events. The Café now has three locations: downtown Indianapolis, Butler Tarkington, and Ivy Tech Indianapolis. For more information, visit www.teasmeindy.com. Follow Tea’s Me Café on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information. Tea’s Me Cafe Food Court Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

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 serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, 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 and out of state for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. Ivy Tech Indianapolis is the College’s largest service area, serving more than 28,000 students each year in Marion, Boone, and Hendricks counties. For more information about this location, visit www.IvyTech.edu/Indianapolis. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information.

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Ivy Tech Indianapolis Appoints Dr. Myra Hart as Dean of Nursing School

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dr. Myra Hart, DNP, MSN, RN, has accepted the Dean of the School of Nursing position, and her appointment will officially begin on October 10, 2022. She has served as the interim dean since July 1, 2022, following the retirement of Angela Koller, and has remained steadfast and dedicated to the School of Nursing during this time, including promoting Ivy Tech Indianapolis on WISH-TV’s Education Mondays.

“I am honored to accept the position of Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ Dean of the School of Nursing. I will continue collaborating with our campus leadership and our wonderful faculty, staff, and students to grow our School of Nursing. Together, we have built a strong school, and I look forward to continuing to expand our program and produce awesome nurses,” said Hart. 

Dr. Hart is a proud alumna of Ivy Tech earning her Practical Nursing Certificate. She earned an Associate of Science in Nursing from Indiana State University, a bachelor’s and Master of Science in Nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Hart’s early career included working as a registered nurse (RN) in critical care, an assistant director and acting director of nursing, and an ATI Capstone Educator. She has also written nursing textbooks and course material. 

Her career brought her back to Ivy Tech in 2004 as Nursing Adjunct Faculty for the Terre Haute Campus. She went on to become full-time Nursing Faculty from 2006 – 2018, also serving as department chair from 2010 until 2014.   

In 2015 Myra came to Indianapolis and was named the department chair for the School of Nursing in 2018. She is a board member of the Indiana Center for Nursing (ICN) and is the lead for the Statewide and Regional Nursing Curriculum Committees helping develop the statewide nursing growth plan. Furthermore, she is on the steering committee for statewide curriculum development, cultivates and maintains extensive community partnerships, initiated a nursing tutoring program, and a mentoring program, and is cultivating a support program for English as a Second Language students. Myra also helps develop our pre-nursing students while also teaching as needed to meet program needs.

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 serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, 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 and out of state for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the most up-to-date information.

Student Spotlight: Justin Stephenson

We recently interviewed Justin Stephenson. He’s one of many of our inspiring and passionate students here at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. Read the below interview to get to know him a bit better.

  1. What is your field of study?

Justin: Mechanical Engineering

  • What did you enjoy about being on campus?

The Indianapolis campus is where I’m enrolled. I enjoy how close it is, and the professors I’ve had have all been so welcoming. Furthermore, the leadership (president, chancellor, and directors) have all been so nice and truly care about their programs, and the students in them.

  • What student life activities or associations are you involved in on campus?

Justin: I’m involved in a lot. I work in the Student Life office part-time as a social media coordinator, and I do the photography for events here while helping plan/execute many events as well. I’m also a part of the Student Government Association helping with marketing and events. I am the president of an organization called Brother 2 Brother here at Ivy Tech Indianapolis.

  • How did you decide on attending Ivy Tech? What drew you to community college?          

Justin: I originally decided after high school that I wasn’t going to go to college at all, but after working approximately 60 hours a week as a technician doing manual labor working on cars at a dealership for a year, it was looking rough. People were quitting or getting pay cuts only to put in their two weeks just to get their original payback, and it was an endless cycle, And I didn’t want any part of it! Luckily, I had some dual credits from my high school for Ivy Tech, so it was the first school that came to mind. I wanted a career switch too, so I decided to take up mechanical engineering. A community college suits me best being a part-time student. Getting acclimated to being a student again, it fits my learning style better and has lots of resources available.

  • How has your Ivy Tech education helped you to achieve your goals?

Justin: Ivy Tech is helping me achieve my goals by helping me become a better student and giving me an open door to countless job opportunities

  • Are you currently working in your field of study? What are your future plans?

Justin: Currently, my plans are to get into civil engineering. A few companies that specialize in civil engineering have come to visit my class making it easy to see who is looking to hire college graduates and less experienced hires to train to meet their needs.

  • Are there any stories you would like to share about working in your field? Have you had any positive student learning, internship, or apprenticeship experiences?

Justin: No internships yet, but I’m hoping to get one in the summer!

  • How did Ivy Tech help you get to where you are today?

Justin: I’ve never been an extrovert or student leader, and Ivy Tech and the Student Life department have really helped me come out of my comfort zone. I am extremely grateful for the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met while studying here.

  • What is your advice for other students interested in Ivy Tech? Why should others consider attending Ivy Tech?

Justin: My advice differs from student to student but overall know your limits. It’s easy to make your own schedule, but it’s also easy to mentally overwhelm yourself and start doubting what you can and can’t do. People should consider Ivy Tech for many reasons … price, support, flexibility, and ease.  And by ease, I don’t mean the classes are easy, but it’s easy to get started and start working towards the degree or certificate you want. I do strongly believe that Ivy Tech has an amazing support system that most colleges do not have for their students.

  1. Do you have anything else that you would like to share?

Justin: Get involved! College is fun, and you’ll be surprised how much more you learn in a short period of time.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis receives grant to strengthen employer partnership(s) with Lilly and connect learners with opportunity

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Strada Education Network selected Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis to receive a grant through the Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge. Strada awarded this $400,000 grant as part of an effort to support innovative collaborations across the country between community colleges and employers. Ivy Tech also will participate in opportunities to share insights and learn from other community colleges and employers, through a community of practice.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis will partner with Eli Lilly and Company to strengthen existing apprenticeship programs and training pathways for a variety of positions within the company by prioritizing recruitment and support of Black students through the Skills First Program. The program will target roles that serve as pathways to family-sustaining careers, including positions within human resources, information technology, and research and development, as well as advanced manufacturing, instrument technician, and mechanic positions.

“With the generous support of Strada Education, our partnership with Lilly is strengthened. It will allow the College to incorporate additional professional development, leadership, and technology skills training, and provide students with tailored career coaching,” said Dr. Lorenzo L. Esters, chancellor, Ivy Tech Indianapolis. “We are extremely grateful to Lilly for providing tuition assistance, paid internships, and considering our Ivy Tech students for job openings upon completion of the apprenticeship program,” added Esters.

In addition to Ivy Tech Indianapolis, 10 other colleges received grants:

  • Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Carl Albert State College, Sallisaw, Oklahoma
  • Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, Rhode Island 
  • Green River College, Auburn, Washington
  • Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • MiraCosta College, North San Diego County, California
  • Pima County Community College, Tucson, Arizona
  • Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Surry Community College, Dobson, North Carolina
  • West Georgia Technical College, La Grange, Georgia

“At Strada, we believe in investing in innovative solutions that deliver results beyond completion,” Strada Education Network President and CEO Stephen Moret said. “Community colleges have long played a critical role by serving the dynamic needs of both learners and employers in their communities. We are thrilled to have the chance to support college leaders and employers who are coming together to provide timely opportunities for learners.”

Strada Education Network created this grant-making initiative to partner with community colleges to support stronger regional economies and communities. This represents Strada’s first major investment in the community college sector and a recognition that community colleges have a transformative capacity to address changing regional workforce needs. The initiative aims to improve employment and socioeconomic outcomes for students who historically have faced significant barriers to economic mobility.

“Community colleges are engines of opportunity with unique insight into local dynamics and needs,” Strada Impact President Ruth V. Watkins said. “We’re honored to both support and learn from these programs as we work to align measures of success beyond completion with the things that matter most to learners: career mobility and earning potential, meaningful work and the chance to contribute to their communities.”

Strada Education Network is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people take advantage of education and training after high school that helps them secure a good job, do meaningful work, contribute to their communities, and lead a fulfilling life. Strada helps students succeed beyond completion of a certificate or degree through its research, charitable grants, and social impact investments, as well as through the work of Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, CAEL, Education at Work, InsideTrack, and Roadtrip Nation, which directly serve learners and workers. Learn more at stradaeducation.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 serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, 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.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis is the College’s largest service area, serving more than 28,000 students each year in Marion, Boone, and Hendricks counties. For more information about this location, visit IvyTech.edu/Indianapolis. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information.

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Ivy Tech Foundation Receives a $250,000 Grant from the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative (IAAQLI)

Grant will support technical skill development and employability for justice-involved individuals in Marion County 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Foundation received a $250,000 grant in the first round of funding from the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative (IAAQLI). The proposed initiative titled “ELEVATE: Change Starts Here” will provide resources to justice-involved youth and adults, incarcerated individuals, and individuals on parole/probation to reduce the rate of recidivism and provide access to high-quality education to support careers in high-wage, high-demand jobs in Marion, Boone and Hendricks Counties.

Through a coordinated partnership between Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, American Prison Data Systems (APDS), Shepherd Community Center, and Public Advocates in Community Re-entry (PACE), program participants will gain access to a holistic program aimed at helping justice-involved individuals. The partnership will provide educational opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals through Ivy Tech classes and curriculum, which will help set them up for success and continued educational pursuits. A dedicated career coach working with the Ivy+ Career Link model at Ivy Tech will provide additional educational opportunities and career pathway assistance, which weaves career readiness practices with academic coursework.

“The generous support from the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative is a prime example of what it means to be a true community advocate and partner, said Dr. Lorenzo L. Esters, chancellor of Ivy Tech Indianapolis.”

“The ‘ELEVATE: Change Starts Here’ initiative directly aligns with Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ vision to be the ‘Campus Without Walls’—our continued commitment to leading the way toward educational and economic equality through strong community partnerships.” “Together, we are excited to be able to provide holistic assistance including educational opportunities and career readiness that will be a pathway to a better future for so many,” added Esters.

IAAQLI is a partnership between the National Urban League, the Indianapolis Urban League, and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis. IAAQLI was created in 2020 through a $100M grant to the National Urban League from Lilly Endowment Inc. The focus of funding is to help non-profit organizations implement IAAQLI’s goal, which is to support effective programs, policies, and ventures that will make measurable improvements in the daily lives of African Americans. 

For more information about this program, please contact Tracey Jackson, Executive Director of Workforce and Career Placement, at tjackson317@ivytech.edu or Michael Martin Drain, Director of Justice-Involved/ Elevate Program Director.

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 degree and short-term certificate programs, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana and out of state for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information.

About the National Urban League

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 92 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research, and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide.

About the Indianapolis Urban League

The mission of the Indianapolis Urban League is to empower African Americans and disadvantaged individuals to achieve social and economic equality and improved quality of living through programs, services, and advocacy in education, workforce development, entrepreneurship, health, and housing.

About the African American Coalition of Indianapolis

The African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) is a non-partisan collaboration of African-American civic, social, professional, service, and community organizations with a goal to educate and engage African Americans in the local, state, and national political process.

About the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative

The Indianapolis Urban League (IUL) in partnership with the African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) and a variety of organizations has implemented the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative (IAAQLI). Funded through a $100 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, the IAAQLI is mobilizing African American resources while also building collaborations and partnerships to elevate the quality of life of African Americans in Indianapolis/Marion County.