The Future of Work is about…. COLLABORATION!

The Future of Work is about…. COLLABORATION!

By: Andrea McDermott, Future of Work Program Associate

ecoREHAB’s STEP (Skilled Trades Education Program), is creating solutions to workforce needs by providing training for a career in the construction industry. Partnering with Ball State College of Architecture & Planning, Eastern Indiana Works, Shafer Leadership Academy, and several local contractors, STEP aims to not only address the shortage of skilled labor but also teach soft skills that people need to succeed in today’s job market. 

Applications were open to all. 10 students of various ages and backgrounds were chosen to participate in the 16-week pilot program that offers a combination of classroom and onsite training. While in the program, trainees are paid an hourly wage and provided most classroom supplies, construction tools, and proper work gear. 

STEP is a fully collaborative effort. CAP offers space and tools in the Madjax building. Eastern Indiana Works assigns each trainee a career coach and mentor. Shafer Leadership Academy has offered career training sessions and professional development support. And local contractors have stepped up and offered their time and expertise to the students, giving them hands-on experience in various trades

The goal at the end of the program is that trainees will have the support and skills needed to find a career in the construction industry. “Part of the intent of the program is to offer hope for people.” Said Jason Haney, executive director of ecoREHAB, “It’s showing people that there are options out there for everyone and it doesn’t have to be a traditional 4-year school if that’s not right for you, and you can still make money and have a good life.” 

STEP officially launched on January 19th. For the next several weeks, students will continue to work alongside community partners to build skills in construction, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, masonry, and plumbing. To follow the progress of STEP, follow ecoREHAB on Facebook.