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In this issue..
When Congress passed the federal stimulus package, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels directed state agencies to put the money to work quickly and leave a lasting asset to the state. Nothing compares to helping Hoosiers acquire the college education or training they need to excel in the 21st Century workplace and thanks to Indiana’s innovative Workforce Acceleration Grant program, Patricia Carson is realizing that it’s never too late to go to college.
Carson, who has been out of school for over 20 years, felt that going to college and acquiring the additional education would help her be more competitive in the workforce. She picked up a WAG brochure at the financial aid office and called the phone number listed. To her delight, Carson qualified for the program and is pleased with the opportunity she has been given to earn an education. Carson is currently enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College, majoring in Health Information Technology.
"WAG benefited me by providing a $3,000 grant to pay for my fall tuition," she said. "This is my first semester being back in school, after 20 plus years, so I am just really trying to get myself focused and in the habit of doing homework, being tutored, or whatever assistance I need to make sure I am successful in school."
Carson emphasized that this educational opportunity can only make her better. Her goal is to obtain a position at a hospital or health facility in a managerial position upon graduation.
WAG provides eligible Hoosiers with up to $3,000 per academic
year to help cover tuition, fees and book costs for an associate’s degree or a vocational certification at more than 50 colleges and universities across the state. To qualify for WAG, eligible workers must be at least 18 years old, have the legal right to work in the U.S, and pursuing an Associate Degree or post-secondary certificate that leads to a high-wage or high-demand occupation. In addition, workers must fall into one of the two groups:
Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a program to help at-risk young adults graduate from high school and make successful transitions to postsecondary education or meaningful employment is beginning its fourth year in Indiana schools. To kick-off the school year, 75 junior and senior JAG students from southern Indiana high schools participated in a leadership development conference at Bradford Woods
The students were selected as representatives of their high schools to take part in activities to learn the three core competencies of JAG: team membership, team leadership and team commitment. The professionally trained staff at Bradford Woods led students through low ropes course challenges, allowing participants to exhibit team leadership and membership while successfully competing with peers and demonstrating commitment to an organization.
At the beginning of the event, Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Teresa Voors spoke on leadership. She asked the students about qualities that leaders possess. At the end of the day, the students were asked the same question. This time, the group shared many more responses thanks to the activities and guidance from the group leaders.
Later this month, northern Indiana high school students will participate in a similar event on the grounds of Bashor’s Children’s Home in Goshen. Five Star/Manowe located in Elkhart will facilitate the days activities.
JAG is operating in 50 Indiana schools this year, with a mission of keeping young adults in school through graduation and providing work-based learning experiences that will lead to career advancement opportunities or to enroll in a postsecondary institution that leads to a rewarding career.
Education and training is the key to a secure job with high earning potential. If you are unemployed, it may be a good time for you to consider going back to school. The economy will turn around and when it does, the demand for an educated workforce will follow. Now is the time to take advantage of educational opportunities and prepare yourself for the future.
Unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits may qualify for federal aid to pay for school. The Federal Pell Grant program can provide up to $5,350 for educational costs at community colleges, colleges, universities and many trade and technical schools.
These are only a few examples of the student aid programs available to assist unemployed workers. To find additional details and programs, visit http://www.opportunity.gov/.
Please remember to contact your local WorkOne in advance of enrolling to ensure that you can continue to receive unemployment benefits while participating in the program you have chosen. Not every training program excuses you from the requirement that you continue to seeking and be available for work in order to receive unemployment benefits. For a listing of the WorkOne Center near you, please visit http://www.workoneworks.com./.
The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are federally assisted programs that provide free and reduced-cost meals to eligible school children nationwide. These meals are nutritionally balanced and are available for breakfast and lunch.
The programs are based on family income requirements. To qualify for reduced price meals, the household income must be below 185 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is $40,793 for a family of four. To qualify for free meals, the household income must be below 130 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is $28,665 for a family of four.
Parents may submit an application for their children at any time during the school year. Families that are currently ineligible may qualify later in the school year if any of the following situations occurs:
To complete a free and reduced application, contact your child’s school. For more information, visit www.doe.in.gov/food/schoolnutrition/welcome.html or call 317-232-0850.
To assist area residents, WorkOne Western Indiana is offering free training classes to help adults remain competitive in the workforce.
These training opportunities are available to increase skills, employment options or advance current careers. Classes are offered at no cost to adults (18 or older) in the evening at various locations.
WorkOne Western Indiana and the Adult Education Departments of the Vigo County School Corporation, Area 30 Career Center in Putnam County, Parke-Vermillion Education and Training Interlocal, Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University are hosting the classes.
The courses currently being offered include: Basic Computer Training, Office Computer Applications, Intro to Blueprint Reading, Measuring Basics, Manufacturing Math, Framing, Roofing, Plumbing, Trim and Paint, Intro to CNC Programming (Adv. Mfg.), Intro to Computers in Design, Intro to MIG Welding, Intro to Basic Machining, PLC Basic, CIM, Welding & Material Layout, Haas CNC with Machining Certification, Intro to Medical Careers, CAN Certification, Mine Safety – Underground and Mine Safety – Surface.
Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of each individual course. Certificates can then be presented to potential employers to verify the individual has received additional workforce readiness.
Greg Vollmer is the Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations for the Department of Workforce Development. Greg brings many years of domestic and international operations, sales and marketing management experience to the department. Prior to joining DWD, he held multiple executive level positions with both manufacturing and service oriented companies. Most recently he was Vice President at Product Action International, a provider of quality engineering, training and inspection services.
Greg oversees the day to day operations of the WorkOne centers and rapid response services for dislocated workers. He and his staff work hard to enhance the service delivered to Hoosiers and improve their overall experience at WorkOne. Earlier this year, he and his team successfully implemented a triage strategy to reduce wait times at centers around the state.
In his spare time Greg enjoys, camping, fishing, golfing, riding his ATV and building a dune buggy. Greg, his wife and two daughters also enjoy taking care of their llamas and showing them through 4-H. Greg is a lifelong Indiana native, a mechanical engineering graduate of Valparaiso University and he earned his Master of Business Administration from Indiana University at South Bend. He and his family reside in Carmel.