The Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) creates postsecondary training opportunities for people with disabilities that empower and lead to meaningful employment through its program. After receiving vocational training at EGTI, students apply those skills through internships at the Courtyard Muncie and Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. and at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
EGTI’s programming is designed for individuals whose academic, social, communication and adaptive skills are affected due to a disability. Most applicants would have received special education services in the K-12 setting and exited their secondary school with a diploma, GED or certificate of completion, though EGTI accepts candidates who dropped out from their high school experience.
EGTI uses a very whole person approach, not just training for work, but health and wellness as well as other life skills such as using public transportation. Each individual starts in a classroom/lab setting until they become proficient in each unit. Then they move onto job-shadowing and hands-on opportunities followed by an internship for the final month of their training programs. Vocational trainings include: Front Desk Agent and Heart of the House (housekeeping) in a hotel, Patient Transporter, Environmental Services, Nutrition Services and Inventory Distribution in a hospital setting, or Prep Cook, Dishwasher, Server Assistant and Host in a restaurant. Trainings range in length between 10 and 13 weeks.
During their time in the program, students live, work and play at the Courtyard Muncie and have many opportunities to explore the Muncie community. Students may also choose to commute. A meal plan is included in the room and board fee and offers several dining choices including those available at Ball State University. Supervised evening and weekend stays and outings are part of the well-rounded student experience. The opportunity to develop friendships, increase independent living skills and engage in hands-on learning is all critical in its whole person approach to help each student not only be job ready, but life ready.
This is true for Morgan Hickman. Morgan first learned about EGTI at an Ivy Tech career fair in April of 2016. At that time, Morgan had already attended 2 years of culinary school and failed to receive his ServSafe® certification. The opportunity for him to have training to help him gain employment was a large success for the family. Morgan started his EGTI program in September of 2016 and graduated in mid-December. During training Morgan received his National Restaurant Association ServeSafe® certification and American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute – Kitchen Cook certification. Since graduation he started a job as a prep cook at Scotty’s Brewhouse in downtown Indianapolis in January 2017.
After less than one month, Morgan was named employee of the month. Right away the management team saw additional talents in Morgan; they saw his potential and people person side and added a few days a week as a host. Since then, Morgan was promoted to host trainer. His goal is to become a corporate trainer within the organization.
Morgan is living his life in the way he chooses thanks partly to EGTI. His next personal goal was to get an apartment in downtown Indianapolis near his job, which he recently did. All the things that Morgan has been able to accomplish, he and his family did not believe was even possible before he enrolled at EGTI.
Jeanne Scheets, Director of Marketing and Partner Programs at The Arc of Indiana Foundation, said, what is true about Morgan and all students who go through the program, is their great motivation and desire to work. EGTI sees that desire to WANT to work and is happy to give an opportunity to dedicated individuals to test their own potential. “We are able to provide opportunity for individuals for more choices in their lives, create a sense of self-worth, community involvement/engagement, and to help enrich the fabric of our culture. EGTI helps make a BIG impact not only on individuals, but also their families.”
To date 49 students have graduated from its programs and approximately 68% are actively employed after completing their training. Roughly 60% of its students earned a certificate of completion while in their high school years. EGTI is a certificate program (not an accredited college degree program). Participants may also earn additional industry recognized certifications depending upon the program selected.
Visit www.erskinegreeninstitute.org for more information, to schedule a visit, links to social media, ways to donate, and e-newsletter sign up.