$20k Impact Grant helping support new pre-manufacturing academy

Local News

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – The Steuben County Community Foundation announced it has awarded a $20,000 Impact Grant to Easterseals RISE to support a Pre-Manufacturing Academy, which will be offered in partnership with The Steuben County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

The Pre-Manufacturing Academy will follow a 10-week program to help individuals prepare for employment with area manufacturers, the press release said. Both Easterseals RISE and the EDC will have manufacturing technical training equipment on-site to foster development of specific skills needed by area employers.

“SCCF is excited to support this collaborative project to help people and businesses in Steuben County,” said SCCF President & CEO Jennifer Danic. “We look forward to seeing Easterseals RISE and the Steuben County EDC work together on this new initiative.”

Easterseals RISE said it will assess students and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to determine their interests, skills as well as any need for accommodations. After completing the assessment, individuals who are interested in pursuing employment in manufacturing will transition to the Academy at the EDC.

“Collaborating with the EDC to help people with disabilities prepare for the manufacturing workforce is an important step not only for the individuals we support, but also for the future of Steuben County as a truly inclusive community,” said Easterseals RISE Executive Director Crystal Church-Stavitzke. “We are all stronger when we work together.”

Easterseals RISE said the Academy will benefit both employers and job seekers in Steuben County.

“The manufacturing industry here in Steuben County is our largest employer. The Pre-Manufacturing Academy is designed to increase the number of qualified applicants entering the manufacturing industry,” said Steuben County EDC Executive Director Isaac Lee. “We are excited to have formed this partnership with Easterseals RISE and the individuals they support who will be able to enroll in this Academy.”

The EDC said it will provide the Pre-Manufacturing Academy at its on-site learning lab to students after school four days a week, plus a summer session for adults and students who cannot attend during the school year.

Learners interested in the Academy will need to select a participating manufacturer that they would be interested in pursuing a career. Through an interview process or the Easterseals RISE assessment process, the learner and the chosen manufacturer would be mutually vetted to assure a good fit, the press release said. Each manufacturer would be able to sponsor one learner per 10-week session.

Students will be paid while enrolled in the program, with funds from manufacturers who are sponsoring students. Upon completing the program, students would be certified and employed by the sponsors.

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