Longtime executive director for the Institute for Career Development, Jerry Evans, felt the call to retire to Houston and heeded it. Now, Evans has passed the torch to new ICD Director Al Long.
“Now I’m here and I’m the new guy in town,” said Long, who took office after Evans retired in March.
ICD, headquartered in Merrillville, provides outside training for steel and tire industry workers who are looking to better their knowledge or get a college degree. First conceived in the late '80s as a response to the downturn in the domestic steel industry, ICD has expanded to include tire and rubber plants, and the glass and paper industries as well.
With 70 local programs nationwide, the group’s mission is to help people enhance their professional and personal lives through education.
Long said he was ready for the task with his extensive union background. Long has worked as elected trustee and financial secretary for local USW 6787, and served in those capacities for more than 15 years. He also was a USW contract coordinator for the ArcelorMittal/USW Joint Health and Safety Committee, and co-chairman for the USW/ArcelorMittal-Burns Harbor Career Development Program for the past 12 years.
In his new position, Long will head educational opportunities for workforce training for eligible members of the United Steelworkers.
“Each plant has an ICD site which provides funds for tuition assistance, and we have actual learning centers set up for more technical training such as a career in heating and air conditioning,” Long said. “It gives an opportunity for workers to find new skills and increase their qualifications.”
ICD has a wide range of classes. Instruction ranges from basic skills, such as GED preparation or financial investing, to graduate-level college courses. Steelworkers also can take a variety of classes that teach technical skills, such as plumbing, electrical wiring or small-engine repair, and a wide array of computer classes.
Long said he has some ideas to bring to the new position to help get the word out about educational opportunities.
“We will have Facebook page learning summits to help bring new marketing techniques,” he said. “We want to get people to use the benefit. It’s a big benefit to be in this area with Purdue, Ivy Tech and more.”
Sean Hayden, ICD communications director, said he looks forward to working with Long, but will miss Jerry Evans.
“Jerry’s enthusiasm for his job, and our work, was contagious, and you couldn’t help but be inspired by him. We’re all happy for him as begins this next phase, but we will miss him as well,” Hayden said.
For more information about the ICD, www.icdlearning.org