The nonprofit Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana is joining forces with the city of Fort Wayne to address worker shortages and provide opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This partnership stems from the city’s Quality of Life initiative approved by the Fort Wayne City Council in October.
“We are incredibly grateful for the city of Fort Wayne’s dedication to supporting individuals with disabilities,” said Donna Elbrecht, president and chief executive officer of Easterseals Arc. “We are proud to contribute to a stronger, more inclusive community by partnering with the city to help people prepare for success in the workforce.”
The partnership with Easterseals Arc is focused on vocational assessment and skills training.
The nonprofit will receive $500,000, which comes from the State of Indiana as a result of additional revenue generated by income taxes and distributed to the city of Fort Wayne.
“Companies and organizations in Fort Wayne have shown their willingness to include and embrace individuals with disabilities as part of their employment base,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “More than 60% of individuals served by Easterseals Arc are enrolled in employment-related services now.”
Easterseals Arc says based on the needs of local employers, it will use the money to develop three learning and simulation labs designed to assess individual interests and skills; provide instruction and hands-on practice to develop specific skills transferable to in-demand industries; and offer on-the-job coaching and support as needed for ongoing success.
The labs will be built at an existing Easterseals location in the city.