The Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation in Fort Wayne is investing more than $2 million to launch a new initiative that helps northeast Indiana students identify their strengths and talents and develop them into careers. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership says collaborators are developing a touchpoint system where students can engage with community partners.
The foundation is partnering with Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Region 8 Education Service Center. The partnership says it is working to align resources that will help guide students in grades 6-14 through the process of creating and executing a career plan.
“We’ve assembled an amazing team of organizations and asked the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to help lead, to ensure that our region is empowering its students, middle school to postsecondary, to identify the path that’s right for them, and to successfully navigate that path,” said Sue Ehinger, chair of the Schwab Foundation board of directors. “The group brings all the experience in professional development, targeted training, career exploration and employer engagement necessary to succeed in this launch phase of the effort.”
The partnership says the Schwab Foundation’s investment is catalyzing a new level of partnership between area organizations.
Lena Yarian, president of Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, said it’s important to partner together to teach students how to explore their personal interests and skills. Educators, parents and other leaders can help students match skills and interests to the region’s varied industry opportunities.
Ryan Twiss, vice president of talent initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership said, “We’ve realigned resources internally to create a team solely focused on efforts related to talent development, retention and attraction, and our partners have also acted quickly to embrace this initiative. I’m honored to work with these organizations who are setting aside a lot of self-interest to put outcomes for students first.”
While the group continues to develop its systematic approach to supporting students, The partnership says it has had to pivot due to COVID-19 and have been focusing recent efforts on creating a website with resources for educators, parents and students.