Boys & Girls Club announces new training center – The Waynedale News
On Thursday, January 6, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne announced plans to open a Skilled Trades and Manufacturing Training Center in August of this year. The 13,000 square foot, multi-million dollar training facility will be called The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne Jim Kelley Career Pathway Center, located at 2439 Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne.
The two-story building will feature five learning labs with state-of-the-art computers, software and equipment to provide school-aged children with vocational training such as supply chain management, automotive, manufacturing , construction trades and more, to prepare them for success entering skilled trades and manufacturing careers.
“My father, Jim Kelley, learned skills in tool and die work and always dreamed of starting a school to get kids into high-demand, skilled jobs,” said Tom Kelley of Kelley Automotive Group. The building was purchased by Kelley, given to the club and will bear his father’s name.
“About five years ago, we came up with a program to introduce our members to the skilled trades,” said Joe Jordan, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. “Our new club facility opened in early 2019 and included the Do it Best Trades & Partnership room.
With the help of the Northeast Indiana Building Trades, the Project Blueprint program introduced several hundred members to various aspects of the trades. Various members of the Northeast Indiana building trades, such as electricians, heat and freeze specialists, plumbers and steam fitters, iron workers, sheet metal workers, carpenters, etc., have given hundreds of hours as trainers and instructors. Michael Kinder & Sons and Elevatus Architecture, who will oversee the design and construction, also worked on the program.
Chris Roberts and student mentors from the Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) Career Academy as well as Ivy Tech also worked with club members.
In a new collaboration, FWCS will introduce 2,200 Grade 8 students to the Jim Kelley Career Pathway Center during the school day, while club members will use the facilities after school.
FWCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel said, “The Club’s Career Pathway Center will be an integral part of our students’ overall learning experience. We have an obligation to prepare our children for their future and give them a head start in high-skilled, high-paying jobs. It will also bring better prepared and more qualified students to our Career Academy.
Fort Wayne UNITED, another collaborator, will establish a structure to connect students and club members to employers throughout the region.
The original Project Blueprint program continues to receive support from AEP/Indiana Michigan Power, General Motors Assembly, United Auto Workers 2209, United Steel Workers 715, Northeast Indiana Building Trades and its members, NIPSCO and Do it Best.
Chuck & Lisa Surack/Surack Enterprises, Kelley Automotive, Rick and Vicky James Foundation, Ruoff Mortgage/Mike Music, English Bonter Mitchell Foundation, McMillen Foundation, Suedhoff Memorial Trust and Automotive Color and Supply provided part of the capital funding for the new business.
Michael Kinder & Sons and Elevatus Architecture, who designed and built the award-winning club facilities at 2609 Fairfield Ave, have been hired for the new project.