LEESBURG — A look at the Kosciusko Work Ethic program and INwork were among the highlights of the annual Kosciusko County Purdue Extension annual meeting Monday, March 4.
The work ethic program, offered by Warsaw Area Career Center and INwork, offered through Purdue Extension, work in conjunction with each other. There are currently 44 students on track for completion.
Additional highlights of the evening were the recognition of Extension All-Stars, new board members and retiring board members.
The program for the evening focused on the new Kosciusko Work Ethic Certificate offered through the Warsaw Area Career Center and INWork offered through Purdue Extension that works in conjunction with the certificate program.
Jill Jackson, Warsaw Area Career Center assistant director, provided highlights of the program. The program is offered to students at Whitko, Wawasee and Tippecanoe Valley high schools. Students who successfully complete the program are recognized in special ways at graduation including receipt of a certificate signed by the governor. Special incentives, pledged by the program industry partners, will also be available.
Jackson stated the program was driven by industry need. A two part rubric was created focusing on attendance, behavior, grades, community service, teamwork, leadership, initiative and influence, punctuality, goal oriented/results focused, personal accountability and respectfulness. Points are given in each area and students must earn specific points before advancing from one section of the rubric to the other. Additionally a specified number of points must be earned to earn the work ethic certificate.
Incentives offered by partners include guaranteed job interviews, mentoring, bonus vacations, tuition reimbursement, health club/gym membership, sign on bonuses and more.
Mindy Wise, 4-H Youth Development Educator, spoke about Purdue’s InWorks program. The program discussions goals, skills, a look at careers available, team work, unwritten rules of the workplace, conduct practice interviews and more. A brief presentation was also given by a student participate of the work ethic certificate program.
Jenny Nelson, extension board president, presented the Extension All-Stars. These people were recognized for their time, effort, blood, sweat and tears given to extension and for going above and beyond what is required.
Recognized were: Sonya Hesser, 4-H leader for 19 years of one of the county’s largest clubs, Mighty Farmers; Alli Lewis for leadership in the master gardeners program; Carolyn Zimmerman for her 10 years of service on Purdue’s Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching; Keith Young for his 30 years of volunteering in 4-H; and Brock and Gwyn Ostrom who have 42 combined years of volunteering in the 4-H program.
The annual meeting also included updates from extention educators.
Wise presented information on the 8 percent increase in county 4-H enrollment last year, success of special interest projects, and of the county’s participation in a data testing team for a Clover Gaming Spark Club.
Jackie Franks, health and human sciences educator, spoke of a change in adult program presentations to include games; provided information on a new program “Hidden in Plain Sight” for parents and grandparents of teenagers and her work with county employees on learning healthier habits.
Judy Egolf, extension homemaker president, gave a yearly overview of the extension homemaker programs.
Kelly Heckaman, county extension director, agricultural and natural resources educator, encouraged people to contact state senators regarding the importance of the extension service, including a crossroads line item in the budget regarding salaries of extension educators.
Heidi Blake, Mark Vanlaninghan, June Thomas and Cindy Brady were elected to the extension board. These four will replace outgoing board members Amy Cannon, Derrick Deardorff, David Lash and Nelson.