Don Wood Foundation Awards Easterseals $75,000 for Pre-Manufacturing Academies | Easterseals Northern Indiana

Fort Wayne, Ind. — The Don Wood Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to Easterseals Northern Indiana to implement pre-manufacturing academies in Allen, DeKalb, Kosciusko, Steuben and Whitley counties.

The pre-manufacturing academies will enhance employability and independence for people with disabilities while also strengthening the local workforce.

Easterseals Northern Indiana is the parent entity of Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana and Cardinal Services. The grant funding will support 6-week classes at Easterseals Arc in Fort Wayne, Easterseals Passages in Columbia City, Easterseals RISE in Angola and Cardinal Services in Warsaw.

The academies will use customized curricula created by Trine University to focus on foundational skills, soft skills and hard skills. Virtual reality trainings, learning labs and community-based job experiences will provide hands-on learning opportunities. Participants will receive certification and potential academic credit for completing the program.

Partnerships with manufacturers in each county will create opportunities for participants to visit manufacturing sites and learn about job opportunities and skill sets needed to be a successful employee. The program also will provide training and resources to help each manufacturing partner attract, hire, and support individuals with employment barriers.