A skills gap is being blamed for the lack of progress in Indiana’s economic recovery. According to the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition, career and technical education for youth and the lack of credential attainment among the state’s adult workforce, are needing attention.
The Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning Center or SCILL Center, is ahead of the curve with providing opportunities for adults and students to gather skills needed to be a productive member of the adult workforce. Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation said officials recognized one gap about three years ago.
The Starke County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized community contributors with their inaugural “Above and Beyond Business Awards.” They will be given annually to businesses or organizations that do something special, like add a new program or go out of their way to support Starke County.
The SCILL Center was recognized for their high school auto tech and welding programs and adult welding program, all of which give Starke County residents training for lifelong employment opportunities.
The Starke County Youth Club was also honored with a plaque. Their after school, summer and basketball programs serve more than 600 Starke County youngsters annually and provide social and leadership skills as well as help with academics and test scores. Recently the SCYC added middle school programs at Knox and North Judson-San Pierre. Continue reading
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is seeking a $15,000 grant to plan for future workforce needs through the SCILL Center. Executive Director Charlie Weaver says they are looking at the cost of implementing vocational and adult automation robotics equipment maintenance programs. He says there is a growing need for that skill set in manufacturing settings. Continue reading
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) is looking to bring life back into the vocational building on the Oregon-Davis school campus to begin an automation robotics and equipment maintenance program as an extension of vocational programs through the SCILL Center.
According to Ron Gifford, the SCEDF will assist in seeking a way to fund the program full-time and to acquire equipment. A pilot program started this year with several students in the eighth grade through the tenth grade enrolled in the program.
A Michigan City native with extensive hands-on welding experience is set to join the staff of the SCILL Center welding technology program. Starting Monday, Elizabeth Tylisz will be teaching the morning vocational welding class and some of the adult welding classes. Continue reading
Dr. Ron May
Ancilla College will soon have a new president. This is Dr. Ron May’s last day. He’s retiring after eight years at the private, two-year school. He says Ancilla fills an important niche for students by giving them the foundation to either continue their education at a four-year institution like IU or Purdue or succeed in the workforce after they graduate. Continue reading
A number of charitable organizations are on the receiving end of more than $40,000 in grants from the Starke County Community Foundation. The gifts are made possible through the foundation’s endowment fund, which is supported by gifts to the SCCF. The money is invested. Each year some of the interest goes back into the fund to help it grow, while some is given locally in the form of scholarships and grants. Continue reading
“The choices you make today will follow you tomorrow” was the message that guest speaker Janice Hernandez wanted the students to take away from the SCILL graduation ceremony Thursday evening.
Hernandez is in charge over at Integrity Trade Services and advised the students gradating from the program to include their work with the SCILL Center on their resumes.
The SCILL Center is offering computer classes.
The first class will be on Tuesday, March 18 at 5 p.m. CT at the Starke County Economic Development Foundation in Knox. This will be an introductory class where students will learn computer software; terminology; using the mouse; selecting, inserting, deleting, saving, opening, and printing documents; creating folders, movement between windows, customizing a desktop and more.
The SCILL Center is once again holding their winter clothing drive after collecting hundreds of coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing last year to be distributed to those in need of warm clothes last year. Jerry Gurrado, the coordinator of student services and programs at the SCILL Center, told WKVI that they are currently collecting articles but what they are most in need of are distribution sites.
In an effort to promote the importance of lending a helping hand to the community, the SCILL Center students in Knox will begin raking leaves in the near future when the foliage begins to fall from the trees. The community project focuses on helping those who are elderly or physically handicapped as the students will rake their yards free of charge on a to-be-determined Saturday.
Students will rake up to 15 yards, clearing them of leaves, on a first-come, first-served basis. No date has been set for the project as the leaves have not yet begun to fall, but those who sign up to have their yards raked will be notified via phone of the project date.
To get on the list, call the Mayor’s Office at (574) 772-4553.
The Boilermakers Local 374 has provisionally accepted a student in the SCILL Center welding program to its apprenticeship program.
Jim Coughlin of LaPorte completed the 12-week SCILL course recently and was happy that his training helped him in being accepted into the apprenticeship program.
The SCILL Center has named Katlynn Surfus from Knox High School as the Welding Student of the Month for May. She was chosen by the Welding Tech instructor, Andy Odle, based on her test scores, class participating, attitude, attendance and initiative in the welding shop.
The SCILL Center’s 11th annual Car Show/Pit Stop competition is coming up this weekend. On May 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., several five-member teams will compete and race two runs using combined times to determine who won as they compete for two scholarships: first place will receive $250 scholarships and a trophy, while second place will receive $100 scholarships.
The competition comes at a cost of $15 for registration, which runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and includes a dash plaque. The event features music from the ’50s through the ’70s, food and soft drinks, door prizes, and a 50/50 drawing.
For more information, call Tabitha Dillner at the SCILL Center, (574) 772-8001.
A graduation celebration is set for Thursday, May 16 for the 2013 graduates of the SCILL Center auto tech and welding programs.
Dr. Ron May, President of Ancilla College, will be the featured speaker during the event scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. CT. Scholarships will be awarded to the students as well as special awards for attendance, performance skills and highest test score average.
The SCILL Center vocational welding students are diligently working to improve on their new trade, and Executive Director Jerry Gurrado explained that 10 of the 16 vocational welding students have earned their certifications – something Gurrado said he’s very thrilled about. The students are currently about six months ahead in their training and Gurrado attributed their success in their studies to instructor Andy Odle.
For those interested in picking up a new skill, the SCILL Center is now taking applications for their next adult welding class, which Executive Director Jerry Gurrado said is right around the corner. The class kicks off on May 6, and Gurrado said that the local WorkOne office has already received a number of applications. Applications can be obtained by calling the SCILL Center or WorkOne, and Gurrado strongly encourages everyone to contact WorkOne to take advantage of training dollars available to lessen the expense.
The House of Representatives recently passed a bill seeking to make it easier for high school students to find high-wage, high-demand jobs through career, vocational, and technical educational opportunities, but one area vocational director has his concerns about the bill.
Governor Mike Pence hailed the passage of the Indiana Works Councils Bill, which he said demonstrates the commitment of Hoosiers to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school. The bill integrates local and state resources by creating regional Indiana Works Councils with membership including representation from employers and educators.
The SCILL Center has announced that it will soon begin its classes on computer software, including PowerPoint, Word, and Quick Books. The classes will be held at the Starke County Economic Development Foundation at 1915 S. Heaton St. in Knox, and registration is required.
The Introduction to Quick Books class kicks off on Friday, Feb. 1 and 8, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The second class will take place on Friday, April 12 and 19, from 8:30 a.m. to noon as well. The training doesn’t stop there, however, as the SCILL Center is also offering an intermediate class for Quick Books software on Friday, March 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is provided for the intermediate class.
The SCILL Center announced this week that in the short time since they became a GED testing site and held their first test on Oct. 27, they’ve had four more test sessions with 27 people seeking their GEDs. Executive Director Jerry Gurrado explained the next test is Feb. 6 and 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the SCILL Center, and registration is required ahead of time.