Don Wood Foundation Awards Easterseals $50K For Dream Teens

FORT WAYNE — The Don Wood Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana to implement Dream Teens vocational training in Kosciusko, Whitley, Steuben and DeKalb counties.

The program will focus on a manufacturing curriculum to expand the students’ employment opportunities, according to a news release from Cardinal Services.

Easterseals staff will work with area schools and manufacturing employers to customize Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) curriculum for Dream Teens camps in each county in summer 2022 (eight weeks), winter break 2022 (two weeks) and spring break 2023 (one week).

Participants in Dream Teens will increase their job readiness by developing hard skills through trainings, certifications and hands-on experiences. They also will improve soft skills such as time-management, personal responsibility, communication skills and networking.

Through collaborations with area manufacturers, the Dream Teens project also will help create inclusive workplaces by reducing negative stereotypes and preparing employers for a pipeline of work-ready, neurodivergent talent.