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 HiringHoosiers.com.
MUNCIE — Finding a job is a major challenge for Hoosiers with disabilities.
So much so, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has been at about 80 percent for the last two decades.
The Arc of Indiana, a statewide organization that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, decided that number needed to change, and they started the Erskine Green Training Institute.
“The good thing about hiring somebody with a disability, many of them once they learn a skill set, they do it the same way every single time," Kim Dodson, executive director of The Arc of Indiana, said. "They like the tedious task, and they can do it quickly. They have that inner drive within themselves to do their job to the utmost professional ability that they can do it so that is a positive.”
LEARN MORE | Erskine Green Training Institute
The Muncie-based program is housed within the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on South High Street, where students not only live, but learn and work a specific job in health care, food service, or hospitality.
“There’s places who do bits and pieces of what we do, but nobody has brought it together the way that we have which again is why we are seeing the success we’re seeing,” Dodson said.
The Erskine Green Training Institute boasts more than 110 graduates, and an employment rate of more than 80 percent.
“The employers who have hired our graduates have been very, very pleased and they can’t wait to hire our next set of graduates," Dodson said. "It has been wonderful. Our biggest problem is we need to communicate that to all the employers across the state of Indiana.”
Employment statistics show when an employer hires someone with a disability, turnover rate goes down, morale throughout the entire company goes up, and productivity increases as well.
Staff at Erskine Green also say hiring someone with a disability also lowers the number of worker’s compensation claims filed, due to their ability to follow rules and not stray away from them.
Maggie Derksen and Alejandro Nunez are just two of Erskine Green’s graduates. Both have found full-time jobs, and a greater sense of pride.
Nunez says if it weren’t for Erskine Green, he wouldn’t be working as a front desk attendant.
“I have the independence of being on my own, learning how to do things on my own," Nunez said.
Erskine Green graduates have been hired by the following companies:
AMC Movie Theater
ARAMARK @ Honda Automotive Plan
Blue Line Bar-B-Que And Catering L.L.C
Grissom Air Force Base Inn
Holiday Inn Express
Hubbard Hill Retirement Center
Hyatt Place Indianapolis/Keystone
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
Louisville VA Hospital
Lucchess Italian Restaurant
Metz Culinary Management
Miller's Merry Manor
Oak & Alley
Pete's Bar and Grill
Presence Sacred Heart Home
Rehab Nursing Home in Elkhart
Roots Eatery and Pub
Rush Memorial Hospital
Senior Living Facility
Soul Pig BBQ
Thr3e Wise Men
Wellbrooke Nursing Home
Zionsville School Cafeterias
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