INDIANA – The Duke Energy Foundation is awarding more than $330,000 in shareholder-funded grants to 16 organizations working to create a pipeline of skilled workers prepared to meet Indiana’s workforce needs.
“Without fail, employers and community leaders I speak to in our service territory list workforce as an immediate area of focus,” said Stan Pinegar, president of Duke Energy Indiana. “Duke Energy is committed to helping Indiana’s workers obtain the skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to meet the state’s current and future labor market needs, with the ultimate goal of providing a better quality of life for the customers and communities we serve.”
Among the grant recipients is The Arc of Indiana Foundation, which aims to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2016, the nonprofit organization founded the Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) – a first-of-its-kind postsecondary vocational program that provides training in hospitality, food service, health care and inventory distribution. Housed within the Courtyard by Marriott at Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, Ind., the program provides 10- to 13-week training sessions in which students attend class, master key job skills and gain valuable work experience through an internship.
“Since we opened our doors six years ago, more than 250 EGTI graduates have gone on to secure jobs and gain increased independence in their communities,” said Andy Kirby, executive director of The Arc of Indiana Foundation. “With the invaluable support of partners like the Duke Energy Foundation, we’re able to continue to help make the dream of having a career a reality for Hoosiers with disabilities.”
Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
Lawrence County Economic Growth Council (Lawrence County) – $25,000. Funds will support the expansion of workforce education and training programs to increase the number of qualified workers in the region.
The Dimension Mill (Monroe County) – $25,000. Funds will support a 10-week upskilling program for selected Monroe County residents to help prepare them for high-wage, in-demand careers in the tech sector.
Columbus Area Chamber Foundation (Bartholomew County) – $10,000. Funds will support local startups and entrepreneurs through coaching, education, and training.
The Arc of Indiana Foundation (Statewide) – $25,000. Funds will support postsecondary vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities through the nonprofit’s Erskine Green Training Institute.
Area 30 Career Center (Putnam County) – $12,000. Funds will support a new material handler/forklift operator certification training course and expand the number of Commercial Driver’s License Class B (CDL-B), Certified Logistics Associate (CLA), and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) courses offered.
Central Nine Career Center (Johnson County) – $45,213. Funds will support the purchase of a pipe welding system to help high school and adult education students gain industry certification in pipe welding techniques.
Greater Clark County Schools (Clark County) – $25,000. Funds will advance preparation efforts and reduce barriers for students to participate in skilled trade and energy industry careers.
Greater Lafayette Commerce Community and Economic Development Foundation (Tippecanoe County) – $30,000. Funds will help establish the “Greater Lafayette Share a Ride to Work” pilot program, which aims to help local employers attract and retain employees from a broader geographical area by offering an affordable transportation alternative.
Hamilton County Community Foundation (Hamilton County) – $25,500. Funds will support the purchase of artificial intelligence and skills-mapping software that will be used to maximize the economic mobility of residents and build creative solutions to local labor shortages.
Highland Heights Foundation (Clinton County) – $10,000. Funds will support the expansion of workforce development programs by providing on-site opportunities for production assistants to develop their skills and work ethic.
Huntington University (Huntington County) – $10,000. Funds will support the purchase of drone technology and training for students enrolled in the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies.
Indiana Region 9 Workforce Board (Dearborn County) – $25,000. Funds will support technical instruction for 12 electricians and construction apprentices.
Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana (Vanderburgh County) – $10,000. Funds will support a two-day, in-person career expo for more than 4,000 local eighth-12th grade students. Funds will also support the nonprofit’s “Adopt-A-School” program, which focuses on making investments in local schools.
Owen County Library (Owen County) – $5,000. Funds will support the expansion of courses in Microsoft training, graphic design, 3D printing, and laser cutting to boost workforce skills in the region.
Project Will (Statewide) – $20,000. Funds will support the organization’s Leadership, Independence, Neighborly, Knowledge and Skills (LINKS) Initiative, which connects young people living with cognitive and intellectual disabilities and/or behavioral health challenges to training, workshops, virtual classes, and on-site experiences to help them achieve their employment goals and become financially secure.
River Valley Resources (Jefferson County) – $15,000. Funds will support a school-based workforce development program aimed at helping high school juniors and seniors become college- and career-ready.