Angola, Ind. — The Steuben County Community Foundation has awarded a year two $20,000 Impact Grant to Easterseals RISE to support its Pre-Manufacturing Academy, which is offered in partnership with The Steuben County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
The Pre-Manufacturing Academy is a 10-week program to help individuals prepare for employment with local manufacturers. Both Easterseals RISE and the EDC have manufacturing technical training equipment on-site to foster development of specific skills needed by area employers.
The SCCF had awarded Easterseals RISE and the EDC an initial grant of $20,000 to launch the program in 2021. The year two grant of $20,000 will help the Pre-Manufacturing Academy continue and grow in 2022.
“SCCF has been impressed by the collaboration between Easterseals RISE and Steuben County EDC to offer this program to our community,” said Jennifer Danic, SCCF president and CEO. ”SCCF sees the Pre-Manufacturing Academy as a great example of an innovative program that can make a big impact in Steuben County. We are proud to continue supporting their work.”
In year one, 12 individuals successfully completed the Pre-Manufacturing Academy, then continued into additional training at the EDC’s Manufacturing Academy. All 12 are now working as part of an Easterseals RISE enclave at a local business while seeking more independent employment in manufacturing.
The year two goal is for 18 students to complete the Pre-Manufacturing Academy, with two sessions of six students each during the school year and one session during the summer.
Easterseals RISE assesses students and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to determine their interests, skills and any need for accommodations and provides preparatory instruction at its on-site learning lab. After completing the assessment, individuals who are interested in pursuing employment in manufacturing transition to the Academy at the EDC.
“With our first group of Pre-Manufacturing Academy students, we saw incredible changes in their self-confidence and their desire to work in the community,” said Crystal Church-Stavitzke, Easterseals RISE executive director. “We’re very grateful to the Steuben County Community Foundation for sharing our excitement and providing a second year grant to help the program grow.”
The collaboration between Easterseals RISE and the EDC benefits both employers and job seekers in Steuben County.
“Working with Easterseals RISE on the Pre-Manufacturing Academy has been a great experience and we are looking forward to even greater outcomes,” said Isaac Lee, executive director at the Steuben County EDC. “With opportunities for employment being very high, we are working together to increase our labor force participation and this program does that.”
About Impact Grants
In early 2020, the Steuben County Community Foundation announced its new Impact Grant cycle intended to support collaborative organizations that demonstrate innovative ideas with a plan for sustainability. Impact Grants offer multi-year funding at a higher dollar amount than most other application-based grant cycles at SCCF. With the support of its donors, SCCF awards more than $1 million each year in grants and scholarships in Steuben County.
About Steuben County Economic Development Corporation
The SCEDC is a 501c (3) non-profit, private entity contracted to administer economic development activities within Steuben County and every municipality within its county borders. The mission of the SCEDC is to lead economic prosperity through collaboration while strengthening employment opportunities to improve the quality of life in Steuben County. The vision of the SCEDC is it will develop and sustain a diversified economy that promotes economic growth and innovation by embracing the ingenuity of employers, cultivating a highly educated workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life valued by residents and visitors alike. More information can be found at www.steubenedc.com