Talent Talk: May 2019
Arc of Indiana bridging skills gap with Erskine Green Training Institute
Published May 21, 2019 by Braden Ochs, Intern for Indiana's Office of Career Connections and Talent and Amber Robinson, Communications Coordinator for Indiana's Office of Career Connections and Talent
Courtyard by Marriott in Muncie, Indiana is home to more than temporary tenants checking in, looking to unwind after a long day of lines, layovers and lane changes. A first-of-its-kind teaching hotel, Courtyard by Marriott houses the Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) which provides postsecondary vocational training for individuals with disabilities.
Developed by the Arc of Indiana Foundation, EGTI works collaboratively with local education, health and business partners to prepare students for a variety of jobs in hospitality and healthcare. Every EGTI student receives personalized, hands-on experience and learns valuable soft skills essential to successful employment.
Local organizations like Arc Innovations, Ball State University, IU Health and Ivy Tech are instrumental in providing students with immersive learning environments during the 10-13 week training process and meaningful job opportunities. IU Health, one of the top teaching hospitals in the country, previously required employees to have a high school diploma or GED. Recognizing the value in hiring EGTI students, the hospital system changed its hiring practices system-wide to include EGTI students who have graduated with a certificate of completion.
As Indiana employers struggle to fill more than 85,000 open positions in a number of industries, EGTI is working to bridge the skills gap by developing talent through vocational training and connecting Hoosiers with disabilities to local, long-term employment opportunities. EGTI, in fact, touts an impressive job-placement rating with over 80 percent of students having secured employment in communities throughout Indiana post-graduation.
“When a company hires a person with a disability three things happen – turnover goes down, productivity goes up and company morale goes up.”
Every aspect of the program is designed to promote not only employment skills but also increased self-esteem and confidence. Not only do students leave EGTI with a certificate, new skills and potential employment, they leave connected to the EGTI team and other resources, including an alumni group, for ongoing support and information.
EGTI offers Career Sampling Sessions several times throughout the year for prospective students interested in learning more about the program before joining. The sampling sessions are a two-day introductory course which allows students to observe and experience a multitude of job opportunities first-hand.
Students, parents, business and community leaders are encouraged to learn more about the program, students and staff by visiting https://www.erskinegreeninstitute.org or scheduling a tour of Erskine Green Training Institute.