What began as a chance meeting at an Arc Northwest Indiana golf outing in 2010 has grown into a longlasting and outstanding partnership.
Friendships and partnerships come in all sorts of shapes and sizes as is the case with the friendship and partnership that has been forged between NIPSCO and The Arc Northwest Indiana.
A NiSource HR representative and an Arc Northwest Indiana employee began talking and soon, Arc Northwest Indiana staffers were holding sensitivity training sessions for NIPSCO executives, who began discovering “life from the other side.”
Working with the NIPSCO Inclusion and Diversity Team headed by Mike Suggs, brainstorming sessions strengthened a climate of understanding between the two companies. In addition, the NIPSCO HR Department provided on-site training on the best techniques for application and interviewing for The Arc employment services staff and its consumers seeking jobs.
Through employment initiatives and project development and execution, several consumers of Vocational Rehabilitation through The Arc have served NIPSCO temporarily with data compilation and systems improvement, and also led to the permanent employment of an IT Specialist at NIPSCO’s Hammond location.
In 2012, The Arc presented NIPSCO with its Choice and Opportunity Award that recognizes “individuals, organizations or businesses who employ people with developmental disabilities; and who have made significant efforts to increase employment opportunities in an integrated setting.”
NIPSCO’s award-winning program was led by Mike Mertes, manager integration management program, Gary. “Mike Mertes deserves to be complimented for his refreshing perspective that everyone has something to offer. Even better, Mike deserves to be recognized for being a visionary and spreading his vision,” Margo Love-Surprise, The Arc’s placement services director, said.
This year, NIPSCO included The Arc in its corporate giving program by funding a grant that helped purchase one transit lift vehicle.
“NIPSCO is proud to provide the transit lift for The Arc clients. The safety culture is very important at NIPSCO and this lift will help ensure safety and accessibility to The Arc’s clients”, said Rick Calinski, NIPSCO manager of Public Affairs. The Arc fleet is used in a variety of programs enabling clients to fully participate in community events and opportunities.