Developed by The Arc of Indiana Foundation, the Erskine Green Training Institute’s primary goal is to provide postsecondary educational opportunities to successfully train individuals with disabilities for employment in the hospitality, food service, and health care industries.
The Institute trains individuals and they apply those skills through an internship at the Courtyard Muncie Hotel at Horizon Convention Center. The Courtyard Muncie is a 150 room property in downtown Muncie, Indiana with two restaurants and an attached parking garage. Other internship opportunities are available at the Thr3e Wise Men restaurant that is located at the Courtyard Muncie Hotel and at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
With hospitality being one of the world’s fastest growing industries, the Training Institute and teaching hotel is designed to tackle unemployment among people with disabilities which was 82% in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
AWS Foundation was happy to award a $250,000 grant for student scholarships. The grant was awarded to commission original artwork created by individuals with disabilities to display in the training hotel, and for research on the impact the Training Institute has on its graduates. Blake is the first recipient of an AWS Foundation scholarship grant. He is excited to begin at the Erskine Green Training Institute, where he will be studying Heart of the House for a hospitality certification and is looking forward to a job in the hospitality industry.
To promote independence, the Training Institute works to create entrepreneurial venture opportunities within the hotel that are owned or managed by individuals with disabilities — such as a news stand, flower shop, shoe shine stand and other related ventures. The project provides a resource for Indiana businesses to successfully hire and maintain employees with disabilities.