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Hiring Hoosiers: Franklin College program helps people with disabilities build skills

Posted: 5:25 AM, Jan 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-14 05:25:37-05
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Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit

FRANKLIN, Ind. — A partnership between Franklin College and Earlywood Educational Services is creating new opportunities for future employment for Hoosiers with intellectual disabilities.

The program is called Inspire and Franklin College helps Earlywood find basic on-campus jobs for these program participants.

The Inspire program lasts one-to-two years and serves students ages 18 to 22.

Through Inspire, students learn the "soft skills" needed to land a job and start a career in various workplaces.

The soft skills include time management, how to work for a boss and how to interact with colleagues.

Lisa Whitlow-Hill is the program coordinator for Inspire at Franklin College.

"When they come into the program they are very shy," Whitlow-Hill said. "They are not very independent. And by the time they leave the program, they have blossomed. They are ya know, talking to all the college students."

The students meet in the morning as a group and then work on their various tasks around campus.

They also take part in certain college classes and are welcome to be a part of campus life by attending games and activities with other Franklin College students.

"We give them the soft skills that they can then transfer out into the workforce and hopefully get their dream job," Whitlow-Hill said.

They also take the Inspire students on monthly community-based instructional trips. They go into different workplaces around the area and learn about positions available that they have the skills set to fill to help them find jobs when they graduate from this program.

Inspire is only in its sixth year, but is already seeing huge successes.

"91 percent of the folks that have completed the 2 years are in meaningful employment or other transitional programs," Whitlow-Hill said.

The students, upon completion of the program, receive a special certification.

If you or someone you know wants to be a part of Inspire, or if you are a business owner looking to hire graduates of this program, you can find more information here.

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