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Forest River employees prepare for GED


Back in October, the Cedar Creek Conference Room at Forest River in Topeka was transformed into a schoolroom for 18 workers who wanted to get their GED. The teachers came from area Adult Education Programs, Four County Area Vocational Cooperative and Learning Generation Initiative (LGI). They brought test booklets and enrollment forms in big boxes through the quiet plant.

The RV industry is coming back from the decline it suffered in 2008, but the fact is, workers now know they need to be more prepared for changes in the economy. The plant is only working three days a week, leaving time for workers to go back to school. “I want my workers to succeed. I celebrate for them when they make progress,” Cedar Creek Plant Manager Merv Hostetler said.

The would-be students stayed until noon that day, taking tests to measure what skills they had and what they still needed to learn. Unlike many classrooms, these students came in already knowing their fellow students as co-workers. By the end of that first day, it was clear that this was a group of students who were ready to succeed.

Of those 18 students who enrolled that October morning, most have already passed their GED exam and the rest are not far behind. Ten more students enrolled in the Forest River GED preparation program on Jan. 26. They heard the stories of their friends and decided they wanted in on the action. What better way to go back to school than to go with the people you work with every day?

Four County Area Vocational Cooperative and LGI would like to provide the same kind of preparation program to other plants in this area. This kind of partnership between businesses and educational programs can build a workforce that is ready for whatever the 21st Century has in store.

The partnership between Four County Area Vocational Cooperative and LGI is funded by the LaGrange County Community Foundation and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. This funding makes it possible to offer GED preparation free of charge to those who enroll.

Anyone interested in more information should contact either Shawn Hoover or Tracy Hutchins at the Four County Area Vocational Cooperative or Kathy Royer at Learning Generation Initiative.