By Corey Ohlenkamp—
MUNCIE, Ind. – The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation, on behalf of Indiana Michigan Power, has pledged $225,000 over three years ($75,000 annually) to support the Ivy Tech Muncie Youth Empowerment Program. This first-of-its-kind partnership between the NAACP Muncie Branch, Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana Michigan Power will provide leadership development and educational programming for minority Muncie-area high school students.
The Muncie Youth Empowerment Program will provide new opportunities and education to Muncie’s youth, investing in the next generation of leaders for our community, expanding students’ experiences and opening doors to new avenues of higher learning.
“We’ve built a great partnership between Indiana Michigan Power, Ivy Tech and the NAACP Muncie Branch,” said George Foley, 2ndvice president of the NAACP Muncie Branch. “I would like to thank I&M for helping to offer our youth in Muncie – especially inner-city kids – the opportunity of this empowerment program with Ivy Tech. I&M listened to us and helped create this program that wouldn’t be possible without the support of the AEP Foundation.”
The program will help minority students their potential and flourish through leadership development, life skills courses, educational programs, job placement and expression through the arts. Participating students will receive college credit through Ivy Tech coursework and visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities. NAACP Muncie Branch and Ivy Tech are also collaborating with Shafer Leadership Academy to provide leadership training and development to fuel youth empowerment within their community.
Wayne Johnson, Ivy Tech’s vice chancellor of Enrollment Services outlined the key program objectives: “This program will expose students to college courses while providing life-changing, enriching experiences. We aim to introduce students to various paths to success through educational and career orientation while also relaying that higher education does not have to be a daunting process,” Johnson said.
The need for this program is significant, as the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has found that Black and Hispanic students who take dual credit courses in high school are more than twice as likely to graduate college on time as minority students who do not have any dual credit.
The program will hold an enrollment and kickoff event at Ivy Tech Community College’s John & Janice Fisher Building (345 S. High St.) in downtown Muncie on Thursday, Sept. 16 starting at 6 p.m. to help celebrate and finish enrolling the first cohort of students. The event will follow CDC health guidelines for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so social distancing and masking are advised.
Students are encouraged to register for the program before the kickoff event, but staff will be able to help others the night of the kickoff event.
“Improving lives through education is one of the primary goals of both I&M and the AEP Foundation,” said Katie Davis, vice president External Affairs and Customer Experience, Indiana Michigan Power. “We are focused on moving the needle forward concerning racial and social justice issues, so we are proud to support the NAACP and Ivy Tech on a program that addresses a need in the Muncie community. We are excited to see how the upcoming courses will help shape our strong leaders of tomorrow.”
The Youth Empowerment Program will enroll 50 high school students per year. To qualify students must attend a high school in Delaware County and may be required to complete an interview. Interested students can apply using the application listed on the NAACP Muncie Branch website at: https://www.naacpmuncie.org/ or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How the Youth Empowerment Program Works:
- Ivy Tech Community College will provide students with college-level classes and career readiness training. Students will complete the program with credits earned towards their college degree and workforce ready.
- NAACP Muncie Branch is convening partnerships to provide students with opportunities to develop financial literacy and soft skills training.
- Shafer Leadership Academy will facilitate a five-module series which explores exemplary best practices in leadership. Providing students with five research-based practices, which will jump-start their leadership abilities and inspire confidence.
- Students will visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities providing students with exposure to additional educational opportunities.
- Participating students may seek summer employment with the Muncie Parks and Recreation summer youth employment program.
ABOUT THE AEP FOUNDATION:
The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) and its utility operating units, including Indiana Michigan Power. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area. The Foundation’s areas of focus include special emphasis on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education, protecting the environment, providing basic human services in the areas of hunger, housing, health and safety, and enriching life through art, music and cultural heritage. The Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio.
ABOUT INDIANA MICHIGAN POWER:
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its approximately 2,100 employees serve more than 600,000 customers. More than 85% of its energy delivered in 2020 was emission-free. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 35 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,620 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.
ABOUT NAACP MUNCIE BRANCH:
The mission of the National Association for the Advanced of the Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. We strive to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
ABOUT IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE:
Ivy Tech Community College serves communities across Indiana, providing world-class education and driving economic transformation. It is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering high-value degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities, along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.