Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
February 2015 issue



Lt. Governor Ellspermann takes an interest in rural areas during visit with Hoosier Uplands

New Head Start system offers parents resources


Jobs for America’s Graduates hosts regional conference in Lafayette


50 acts of kindness for 50 years of action

Success Story: Organizational Payee Program client is working toward self-sufficiency


Institute program manager receives national Skills Champion Award

Indiana Community Action celebrates another Professional in Human Resources


Inside the Statehouse: Making Progress for Working Hoosiers

'Thank you, LHDC, for 50 years of caring'


The deadline for submitting articles for the March issue is March, Feb. 6, 2015.

Submission information


Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann (center) meets with staff from Hoosier Uplands in January.

Lt. Governor Ellspermann takes an interest in rural areas during visit with Hoosier Uplands

On Jan. 23, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann visited Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation (HUEDC). About 20 of the agency’s top management staff met with Lt. Governor Ellspermann and discussed all of the different programs and services that Hoosier Uplands offers, including Head Start, home health and hospice, Serenity Now Psychiatric Clinic, energy assistance and current apartment projects. Each staff member had the opportunity to discuss the highlights of the various programs and their importance to our communities.

Hoosier Uplands staff reports that the Lieutenant Governor was extremely engaged and interested in the importance of every program. She was also excited to hear about the agency’s internship program to encourage youth to come back to the area and work in the social services field.

At the conclusion of her visit, she was given a tour of HUEDC’s main office in Mitchell and was introduced to all staff that were present that afternoon.

“We are very pleased that the Lt. Governor took two hours of her busy schedule to visit us, and it is very apparent that she really cares about rural areas and the critical development needs inherent in rural Indiana,” said David Miller, Hoosier Uplands CEO.

New Head Start system offers parents resources

A new resource offered by the Head Start Division of the Community Action Program of Western Indiana allows parents and family members to access information about their children’s progress. Teaching Strategies GOLD is an ongoing assessment system that allows parents to set up an account, then easily view documentation of their children’s gains, development and learning reports, and access an activity library of songs, games and other learning activities designed to meet their children’s current developmental levels. It also offers a personalized method of communication between the child’s parent and teacher.

Since the initial roll-out, 61 families have requested invitations to participate. The staff is excited about the opportunities this new resource offers to better involve parents in their child’s education.


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Crawfordsville High School JAG members won first place for their chapter banner.

Jobs for America’s Graduates hosts regional conference in Lafayette

The 2015 Regional Career Development Conference (CDC) of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) was held in January at the Lafayette National Guard Armory. One hundred, eighty-five students attended the Region 4 CDC, and 118 students representing Crawfordsville, Kokomo, Lafayette (Jefferson), Logansport, Oakland, Peru and Twin Lakes high schools competed in individual events.

Highlights of the results are below.

Chapter winners:

  • Twin Lakes High School placed first in Chapter Service Learning Binder and second in Chapter Banner.
  • Crawfordsville High School placed third in Chapter Banner and Chapter Commercial.

Individual first-place recipients were:

  • Emma Samuels (Cover Design), Twin Lakes
  • Carson Williams (Career Presentation), Twin Lakes
  • Payton Pearson (Creative Solutions), Crawfordsville
  • Kristina Goodnight (Financial Literacy), Crawfordsville

First-place recipients will go on to compete at the State CDC in Indianapolis on March 13, 2015.

Second-place recipients were:

  • Rosa Hernandez (Career Presentation), Oakland
  • Aiden McNeill (Creative Solutions), Oakland
  • De’Angela Christopher (CATEGORY?), Oakland
  • Makenna Elzbeck (Critical Thinking), Crawfordsville
  • Payton Hall (Writing Skills), Crawfordsville
  • Kevin Pyle (Public Speaking), Twin Lakes

Third-place recipients were:

  • Dakota Baughman (Career Presentation), Twin Lakes
  • Christian Gross (Creative Solutions), Twin Lakes
  • Bayli Gritten (Critical Thinking), Twin Lakes
  • Ka’Lynn Williams (Writing Skills), Lafayette Jefferson

This year, CAPWI Executive Director Muff Rennick (shown above) took part as a judge in the Critical Thinking Event. 


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50 acts of kindness for 50 years of action

“With one kind gesture, you can change a life. One person at a time, you can change the world. One day at a time, we can change everything.”
Steve Maraboli, The Power of One

In celebration of 50 years of Community Action, Pace Community Action Agency, Inc., staff committed 50 random acts of kindness.

Staff members handed out small cards with each kind act, so people would become more aware of what PACE is, what it does in the community and that it has been influencing the area for 50 years. Staff members then shared what they did on the organization’s SharePoint page.

Some examples:

  • "I pre-paid $10 at a gas pump.”
  • “We took baked goods to the mayor's office, fire station and police station.”
  • “I sent two bouquets of flowers to the nursing home and said to give them to any patient that needed cheer(ing) up."

This was a fun and rewarding way to celebrate 50 years!

Success Story

Organizational Payee Program client is working toward self-sufficiency

Twenty-four-year-old Jeremiah Rice whole-heartedly believes the mantra, “idle hands never produce anything.” Not the kind of person who can stay home all day and play video games, he says he enjoys working his part-time job at Jimmy John’s, where he has been working since last August, because it gives him the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society.

Part-time workers like Jeremiah are not typically what people think about when they think about the Social Security Administration (SSA) payee program. Yet, Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs (and other community action programs) serves disabled clients who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and work part-time jobs. Jeremiah has been a client of Area IV’s Organizational Payee Program since February 2014.

After recently receiving a raise, Jeremiah contacted the Area IV staff and talked about how he could best apply the extra income to his monthly budget. He plans to continue to work at Jimmy John’s and hopes to have a management position one day. This would allow him to become independent and self-sufficient.

The Payee Program provides Jeremiah with the support to learn job skills while having the safety net of knowing his bills are paid and assistance in learning to budget his money. The program is helping Jeremiah establish good credit and good financial habits that, along with his personal work ethic and commitment to growth, will allow him to build a great future for himself.

About Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal income-supplement program designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income. SSI provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. It is funded through federal taxes, not Social Security tax.

In 2013, 4.3 percent of those who received SSI benefits worked a part-time job, according to SSA statistics. According to the SSA website, one of the administration’s priorities is to help people with disabilities achieve independence, while helping them take advantage of support programs that allow them to go to work without losing their SSI or Medicaid benefits.


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Institute program manager receives national Skills Champion Award 

Jessica Fraser, program manager of the Indiana Institute for Working Families (a program of the Indiana Community Action Association), has received a national award that recognizes her as a "star advocate" for skills training and workforce development at the state and federal levels. Fraser was presented the 2015 Skills Champion Award by Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition (NSC), at the annual Skills Summit in Arlington, VA, on Feb. 9. (See photo at right.)

Fraser, who has led the Institute as program manager since 2012, also co-chairs the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition with State Senator Dennis Kruse. Additionally, Fraser has been appointed to serve on the Indiana Career Council's Sector Strategies taskforce and to an advisory panel for the Indiana Network of Knowledge, and also sits on the NSC's Leadership Council. 

Skills training policy is an integral focus of Fraser's work with the Institute. The Institute works to conduct research and promote public policies to help Hoosier families achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency, believing the education and training needs of Indiana's workforce must be addressed in order for Indiana to compete in a global economy. Additionally, the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition promotes middle-skills education and training to help close the state's skills gap, and uses research and data to further policies that will help match the skills of Indiana's workers with the demands of its workforce.

During her tenure, Fraser has successfully advocated for:

  • the measurement of workforce credentials across state agencies
  • improved support for Indiana's adult and part-time student population
  • better alignment of federal education and training resources with the state's specific workforce needs. 

According to the NSC, the annual Skills Champion Award "recognizes a Coalition member whose exceptional organizing and advocacy efforts have moved the skills agenda forward in (her) state or in Washington, DC, over the past year. This member embodies the Coalition's mission to seek an America that grows its economy by investing in its people, so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper."

"Jessica is always 'all-in' when it comes to cross-state collaboration and leveraging her state-based expertise to move forward a national agenda", the NSC wrote in their announcement of the award. "Jessica does not stop at personal engagement. She works tirelessly to ensure all necessary partners from Indiana are at the table - in both state and national conversations ranging from data to sector strategies - and that these partners are both sharing what they know and applying their learning to efforts in their state."

Read more:

Indiana Community Action celebrates another Professional in Human Resources

In 2014 Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA), through the Indiana Training Institute, began announcing the successful course completion and certification of Human Resource professionals within the Community Action Network.

Our network has recently added another name to this distinguished list: Shannon Sprinkle, Human Resources manager of Lincoln Hills Development Corporation, passed the certification exam in January, becoming a certified Professional in Human Resources.

IN-CAA would like to congratulate Shannon on her accomplishment.


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Inside the Statehouse: Making progress for working Hoosiers

Several bills that affect the lives of working Hoosiers have been moving through the Indiana legislature this session. The most notable recent success is the passage of House Bill 1616, which eliminates the child care benefit cliff. It passed the House of Representatives unanimously — with a vote of 94-0 — on Tuesday, Feb. 17. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The Indiana Institute for Working Families' Inside the Statehouse blog documents weekly summaries of public policy updates and analysis on legislation from the 2015 Indiana General Assembly that impacts working families across Indiana.

Subscribe to the blog to receive updates by email* or RSS feed.

*(On the IIWF website, enter your email address under "Stay Informed."

'Thank you, LHDC, for 50 years of caring'

An editorial by that title ran in the Perry County News on Feb. 2. The article talked about Lincoln Hills Development Corporation's recent open house, outlined some of the highlights of its history and congratulates the agency, its employees and its board of directors "for half a century of dedication and compassion."

Read the article.


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