COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (June 19, 2018) – The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and “Whitley Works” program in partnership with the Whitley County Manufacturing Council, recently received a $5,000 grant award from the Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN).
The grant will be used toward a new collaborative program that aligns education and the local workforce, to create pathways for students for employment and/or postsecondary training. The partnering organizations, along with local stakeholders, will develop a program for students interested in acquiring manufacturing skills, certifications, and college credits from Freedom Academy, Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast and Purdue University.
“Whitley County has begun the collaborative process of building career pathways customized to the needs in their areas,” said EWIN Director Alisa Deck. “This mini grant will help them explore additional possibilities with promising practice site visits along with further technical assistance and support from EWIN.”
The Whitley Works program was put into place in 2017 by WCCS as a partnership opportunity for all three school systems, WCCS, Smith-Green Community Schools and Whitko Community Schools, to better connect students with local employers to provide internships, training opportunities and employment opportunities.
“The mini-grant recently awarded by EWIN will provide Whitley County Schools the opportunity to continue and expand our work with the Whitley County EDC and the Manufacturing Council,” said Whitley Works Program Director Lori Heuer. “Our goal is to study other successful manufacturing pathway models to guide the creation of our own local pathway to connect interested students with the training and experiences necessary to prepare for a career in manufacturing.”
The Whitley County Manufacturing Council is also working alongside the Whitley EDC and WCCS.
“The EWIN grant will help us get moving in meeting local manufacturing and trade needs for skilled workers, allowing educators to expose our children to the job opportunities of our local work force, and keep Whitley County’s youth employed here at home,” said Scott Werstler, chairman of the Whitley County Manufacturing Council and president of Red Star Contract Manufacturing.
The Whitley County Manufacturing Council is a group of local manufacturing companies that are working together to promote and grow manufacturing, inform the community about opportunities, and encourage individuals to pursue careers in manufacturing.
“This grant provided through EWIN will help us begin to look at the skills necessary for individuals from high school to adults entering the manufacturing industry in Whitley County,” said EDC Workforce and Community Development Director Riley Hollenbaugh. “This grant will be a collaborative effort in the community between educators, manufacturing companies and community organizations to work on workforce development challenges that affect Whitley County’s manufacturing companies.”
About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: whitleyedc.com.
EWIN is an initiative of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), a non-profit at the University of Indianapolis, which unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement.
About Whitley Works
Whitley Works is a collaborative program between Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Smith-Green Community Schools and Whitko Community Schools to help better connect students with local employers to provide internship opportunities, training opportunities and employment opportunities.
About Whitley County Manufacturing Council
The Whitley County Manufacturing Council was established in 2017 in partnership with the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation to help support, promote and grow the manufacturing industry in Whitley County.
Katie Dewitt (Whitley Co. EDC) – 260.244.5506
Alisa Deck (EWIN) – 812.593.4288
Lori Heuer (Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Whitley Works Program) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Werstler (Whitley County Manufacturing Council and Red Star Contract Manufacturing) – 260.327.3145