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Northwest Indiana Workforce Board logo

Northwest Indiana Workforce Board logo

Hiring for the Future is a series from the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, featuring Region employers who provide young people a work opportunity, while helping them gain skills and develop a good work ethic in order to succeed in today’s economy.

“We hire many young employees, quite a few that are fresh out of high school,” said George Douglas, senior vice president at Indiana Beverage. “Our minimum age is 18, due to the nature of our beer distributorship. But we do love to bring in young people because of their high energy and unique outlook on the job.”

Indiana Beverage emphasizes work ethic at every level of the business and says that the family-owned business incorporates the tenets of the regional Work Ethic program into every aspect of the daily business.

Douglas says that he can tell immediately if a young applicant has gone through one of the two Work Ethic programs sponsored by either the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board or the state. “Applicants display a firm grasp of the soft skills taught by the Work Ethic programs,” he says. “Those skills incorporate a very valuable skill set for young people just entering the workforce.”

In business since 1939, Indiana Beverage distributes over 1,100 brands of beer as well as Coastal Valley Water. Douglas says they hire both part-time and full-time employees, and seasonal workers during the busy summer months.

“When we need new employees, we interview candidates of all ages and genders,” he says. “We do get a healthy number of young candidates, especially for seasonal work. No matter what age we bring in, we always incorporate the soft skills of the Work Ethic program into our training program.”

Douglas says that Employer Expectation posters provided by NWIWB adorn walls in the lunchroom, break room, and the HR department. “It’s more than a slogan,” he claims. “This is a customer-driven business, and we have to understand the criticality of being on time, responsible, safe and communicative. Customers have options. We need to make sure they have no need to look elsewhere.”

Indiana Beverage has a history of promoting from within. Douglas explains that the majority of management began in the warehouse or as a delivery helper. “We always make sure our employees understand that they can find a fulfilling, full-time career at Indiana Beverage.”

Showing a positive attitude, following directions, being on time, honesty and dependability, and managing time effectively are important on the job floor. Douglas says that he tries to teach young employees that these same skills transfer to all walks of life.

“Even if young employees go back to school or find a different job, they will need that same skill set,” he says. “I try to make sure they understand the importance of being responsible. The hard skills that are relevant to a particular position will be taught on the job. But you need to bring the soft skills with you.”

Douglas also says that more high schools and community colleges need to incorporate the Work Ethic program into their curriculum. “Hopefully the training expands to every educational program.”

The opinions are those of the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board.

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.