Education, business, and community - growing

A partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning and integrating the Columbus, Indiana and region’s community learning system with economic growth and a high quality of life.

CEC Joined Lumina Foundation in National Partnership


Learn more about our history

CEC Work History

Hudson Institute Report (1996)

Post-Secondary Education Environment in Columbus (1996)

CEC Formed (1997)

Columbus Learning Center Planning Begins (1999)

Degree Programs Study/Analysis (2000)

CAPE Grant (2002)

$3 Million Fund Drive (2004)

Columbus Learning Center Opens (2005)

Strategic Skills Initiative (2006)

Dream It. Do It.- Manufacturing Career Awareness Launches (2007)

$38 M EcO15 Initiative Launches (2007)

Dream It. Do It. High School Champions (2008)

Early Childhood Study and Planning Begins (2008)

Latino Education and Outreach (2008)

$200K for Math Matters (2009)

EcO15 Receives Award (2010)

Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (2010)

EcO15 Network Development (2010)

Dream It. Do It. Receives Award (2010)

BSME Degree Offered in Columbus (2011)

EcO15 Phase II (2012)

EcO15 Region Receives CTE Award (2012)

CEC & Cummins Sponsor Community EdFest (2012)

CEC Leveraged $450 K to Support Community Programs (2013)

$1.8M SkillUp Grant in Support of EcO Regional Networks (2016)

EcO Manufacturing Network Receives CTE Award (2017)

Why the CEC's Work is Important

The CEC remains focused on developing an educated citizenry, educated workforce and preparing high school graduates who are ready for college.

View the CEC Goal Tree


Pre-k through 12th Grade

Pre-K through 12th grade initiatives supported by the CEC.

Post Secondary

Post-Secondary initiatives supported by the CEC

Community Partners

As you visit the site, please note the links to our Community Education Coalition partner Web sites and resource information to enrich educational and career opportunities for all in our community. 

Ivy Tech Community College

Columbus Campus

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation

A World-Class Community Learning System

Indiana University Purdue University Columbus

IU and PU degrees offered in Columbus

Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Columbus

Be a Boilermaker in Columbus


Discover Job Seeker Services and Explore Employer Services

Flat Rock Hawcreek School Corporation

2012 "Best High Schools Bronze Award" Winner

City of Columbus

unexpected. unforgettable.

Columbus Chamber of Commerce

2009 Chamber of the Year Winner

Heritage Fund

The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County

We help communities build coalitions to solve their grandest challenges.

CivicLab is an institute dedicated to advancing the practice of civic collaboration. Led by a team of pragmatic practitioners, CivicLab creates the tools and frameworks that form the underlying foundation for the practice of community collaboration.

CivicLab’s approach is to learn what makes community collaboration work at its best, document the discoveries, and teach and share the practices broadly. The purpose of the work is to help communities increase their collective capacity—which is their ability to get things done, together.

As both an overarching set of principles and a hands-on practice for improving a community, CivicLab’s stakeholder engagement process provides people with a common language and common approach for dissolving complex social problems. It’s a way of thinking and a disciplined way of working together to redesign a social system whose underlying conditions are causing the unwanted problems in the first place.

CivicLab teaches communities how to form guiding teams: small leadership groups that accept responsibility for the success of a whole system. A guiding team learns how to work together to coordinate efforts across programs, organizations, and even the sectors of society.  Working in this way requires the creation of a new set of leadership capacities; skills which are uncommon in practice and not often taught.

Board Members

The CEC Board members consist of educators (superintendents of both school districts in Bartholomew County, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, Ivy Tech Community College, and Purdue College of Technology), business leaders, community leaders and public officials.

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David Barker

President, SIHO Insurance Services

Chris Beach

Director of Operations, Columbus Learning Center

James Bickel

President & CEO, Columbus Regional Hospital

Jesse Brand

Retired, Community Member

Jeff Brown

President, Home News Enterprise

John Burnett

President & CEO, Community Education Coalition

Mary Chandler

Executive Director- Corporate Responsibility and CEO of The Cummins Foundation

Steven Combs

Interim Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College

Cindy Frey

President, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce

Joe Fuehne

Director, Purdue Polytechnic Institute Columbus

Jack Hess

Executive Director, Institute for Coalition Building

Jason Hester

President, Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation

Reinhold Hill

Vice Chancellor and Dean, IUPUC

Rick Johnson

President/CEO, Johnson Ventures

Larry S. Kleinhenz

Chair, Bartholomew Co. Commissioners

Jim Lienhoop

Mayor, City of Columbus

Angie May

President, Analytical Engineering, Inc.

Chip Orben

Business Relations Manager, Duke Energy

Kathy Oren

Executive Director, Community Education Coalition

Srikanth Padmanabhan

Vice President – Engine Business, Cummins

Brian Payne

Airport Director, City of Columbus, Board of Aviation Commissioners

Shawn Price

Superintendent, Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation

James Pridgen

Heritage Fund the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Retired- Cummins Corp Security

Jim Roberts

Superintendent, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation

Angelina Rodriguez

Global Enterprise Planning Program Director, Cummins Inc.

Albert H. Schumaker

President, Coca Cola Bottling Company

Tracy Souza

President/CEO, Heritage Fund-the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County

Sherry R. Stark

Community Member, Heritage Fund-the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County

Mark Stewart

Director, United Way of Bartholomew County

Don Trapp

Retired, VP of Business Development, Cummins Inc.