One year after launching the innovative Erskine Green Training Institute in downtown Muncie, the executive director of The Arc of Indiana Foundation Inc. says the program has already served dozens of Hoosiers with disabilities. The institute is located at the Courtyard Muncie and offers training in fields such as hospitality, food service and medical care. Job skills are the institute’s focus, but Kim Dodson tells Inside INdiana Business a positive outcome for students has been an overall quality-of-life boost.
Dodson says expansion of the program could be on the horizon. "We knew that there was a great need for what we wanted to do and I think The Arc was very worried about our growth, because we would have very high demand of what we were doing. We have other states who want to model what we are doing, we have areas around the state of Indiana who want to model what we are doing. We are now spending a lot of time looking at how do we grow forward." She says within the next two years, the program could branch out into additional areas of training focus. Dodson says discussions with other states will continue, but the most important objective will be to keep growing the program in its current form in Indiana and help Hoosiers with disabilities share their talents throughout the state.
Outside the institute, The Arc of Indiana is urging legislators to pass legislation to increase wages for director support professionals. The Arc says DSPs provide care for people with intellectual disabilities through group homes, organizations like The Arc and in the form of support staff for families. The Arc says wages for these workers in Indiana are only a little above the poverty line and only a fraction of the median Indiana family income. It says a $10 million investment in DSP wages by the state would unlock $20 million more in matching federal dollars.
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One year ago, Inside INdiana Business took you inside the center during its first full month in operation: