Lawrence County Workforce Coalition Works to Build an Educated Workforce to Meet the Demands of Employers

(BEDFORD) – Joe Timbrook of the Lawrence County Workforce Coalition presented information that the organization has been working on to Bedford City Council members.

A grant through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development provides more than $693,000 to address the weakness within an uneducated or skilled workforce.

The Coalition also received more than $243,000 of Matching Funds, $131,450 of In-Kind funds with a fund total of more than $1,067,450 through the month of May 2020.

Members of the Coalition:

  • Former Mayor Shawna Girgis
  • Bedford Mayor Sam Craig
  • Shance Sizemore of the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council
  • Doug Kellams of East Gate and Tri-County Builders
  • Lawrence County Commissioner Gene McCracken and with Stonegate Arts and Education Center
  • Debbie Beeler of Hoosier Uplands
  • Jamie Blackwell of Peerless Technologies
  • Dr. Angie Lewis, of NWSC Crane
  • Kim Waldridge of Regional Opportunities Initiatives
  • Bruce Calloway of Duke Energy
  • Dr. Ty Mungle of North Lawrence Community School Corporation
  • Dr. Mike Wilcox of Mitchell Community Schools
  • Joe Timbrook, Heather Nash, and Kayla Bryant of Lawrence County Economic Growth Council

The three goals of the Coalition:

  1. Prepare all students for careers while in high school
  2. Increase Post Secondary Education
  3. Increase Adult Education and Training Programs, certifications, and employment.

With five main Strategies behind these programs:

  1. Increase the utilization of the North Lawrence Career Center by youth and adults in the Region.
  2. Increase the number of internships and apprenticeships in the region.
  3. Increase job skills of unemployed and underemployed with outreach to justice-involved residents.
  4. Create a PTECH School
  5. Develop and implement an awareness initiative around career and job opportunities.

In Indiana, only 41 percent of its residents have a college degree, in Lawrence County, there is only 27 percent with a college degree. The goal is to have 60 percent with post-secondary education.

The Coalition has been trying to increase the number of adults with HSE through the efforts of the Vincennes Adult Education Program. As well as, increase the number of enrollments in Vincennes University’s ABE Program. In addition, increase the number of graduates from Vincennes University’s ABE Program and therefore decrease the number of Lawrence County residents without their HSE.

The General Awareness Program has generated a 225 percent increase in the HSE compared to 2018.

Lawrence County Coalition has also increased the number of internships with students and businesses teaming up to offer job training in the related field of study. The Coalition exceeded its goal of 120 positions to the current number of 153.

Several Lawrence County Business such as General Motors has been providing these internships. The North Lawrence Career Center has added Career Exploration, with a total of eight students taking part.

Governor’s Workforce Cabinet Local Career Center Coaching Grant is also being implemented with the goal of K12 career awareness, exploration, employability preparedness for all Lawrence County youth.

During the process, a survey was sent to all North Lawrence Community Schools and Mitchell Community School teachers with a total of 153 responses. This is to assess the current situation in career readiness.

The application for Skillful Governor Workforce Coalition Career Coach to assist North Lawrence Community Schools with imbedding K12 college/career preparation and Employability Standards into lesson planning and curriculum.

North Lawrence Community Schools, Mitchell Community Schools, and Lawrence County Economic Growth Council representatives attended Tech Centers That Work Forum in Point Clear, Alabama in January.

Thirty staff members from North Lawrence Community Schools and Mitchell visited Eminence Schools on February 13th and will be sending staff from the North Lawrence Career Center and all sending schools to Making Schools Work conference in New Orleans, Louisiana in July.

The modernization of the North Lawrence Career Center is a goal of the business community as well as the school corporation to get equipment updated to modern technology and needs.