Event Provided Positive Light for Those with Disabilities

workoneOn August 6, the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board (NWIWB) and WorkOne Northwest Indiana hosted an Asset Development event at the Avalon in Merrillville. The event was part of the region’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a multi-agency cooperative initiative within the WorkOne Northwest Indiana offices.

Welcoming over 120 attendees was NWIWB member, Arnold Ransom from Vocational Rehabilitation Services, who informed the crowd that Northwest Indiana and its WorkOne system were selected as one of the pilot programs for DEI, resulting in the event. “The Board knew it was important to be part of a program that could provide potential workforce solutions to individuals with disabilities,” said Arnold. The event and the combined efforts of DEI, focus particularly on veterans or eligible spouses, individuals who have a Ticket to Work, and persons with disabilities who have additional barriers to education, training, or employment success. “Informing and educating Northwest Indiana communities about programs and tools available to this select group is important in increasing asset development,” Arnold added.

The half day event featured breakout sessions and a luncheon with guest speaker, Josh Bleill who was given a standing ovation after his presentation. Bleill is the Community Spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts and a former Marine Corporal who lost both of his legs during a tour of duty in Iraq. Through his inspirational talk, Bleill encouraged those listening that they must not allow a disability to be a barrier to their livelihood or an obstacle to a path of self-sufficiency.

Organizations and businesses that serve on the DEI Task Force or participated as presenters or exhibitors included the Arc of Northwest Indiana, Bank of Northwest Indiana, Center of Workforce Innovations, GOOGLE, Housing Opportunities, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Internet Essentials from Comcast, ISBDC, Michiana Resources, Opportunity Enterprises, Social Security Administration, Trade Winds, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (Areas 2 and 3), Walgreen’s Return Center, and WorkOne Northwest Indiana along with the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board.

For further information on DEI or upcoming DEI events, contact Martina Tovar at 219-462-2940, ext. 40 or mtovar@innovativeworkforce.com.