Duke Energy Grant Supports Erskine Green Training Institute During COVID-19

A $30,000 grant awarded to Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) by the Duke Energy Foundation in May 2020 has greatly assisted EGTI in maintaining and creating new services and supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EGTI, housed in the Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center, provides postsecondary employment training for people with disabilities in the hospitality, food service, healthcare, and inventory supply industries.

Andy Kirby, The Arc of Indiana Foundation executive director, said, “Before the pandemic, 2020 enrollment was on track to break a record. More importantly, EGTI graduates were enjoying an 84% employment rate. In March everything changed.  Session one, which began in January, was completed virtually. Session two, which began in April, was cancelled. And we learned that 68% of EGTI’s graduates had been furloughed or let go. The Duke Energy grant greatly supported the efforts of EGTI staff to quickly pivot to new ways of supporting alumni.

“Several virtual sessions were held each week addressing employment topics, including dusting off your resume and conducting virtual interviews. To keep everyone active, Zumba, CrossFit and Yoga classes were offered and virtual happy hour get togethers were planned to keep everyone’s spirits up.

“In addition to reaching out to alumni, the EGTI team put together a four week special series for high school students. Daily activities included cooking lessons, learning about career options, how to order food through delivery apps and opportunities to talk with people working in careers they are interested in. Over 1,000 people tuned in to learn from these and other topics.”

In July, EGTI was able to resume on-site classes and the final session of the year will be completed on December 18, when EGTI will celebrate its 200th graduate.

“The Duke Energy grant continues to assist EGTI in exploring and developing new vocational training curriculum and enabling on-site students to learn job skills while adhering to social distancing and other COVID-19 safety practices.

The grant was awarded as part of Duke Energy Foundation’s commitment to supporting workforce development programs that address the most pressing skill gaps in communities served by the company. We greatly appreciate Duke Energy’s ongoing support of EGTI,” Kirby said.

Learn More About EGTI at: egti.org

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