Heartland gets grant to expand

By Mandy Mahan

The Heartland Career Center will likely be expanding in the near future.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski announced a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand Heartland. The investment will establish a new facility to provide adult career training in health care and advanced manufacturing.

“Indiana is in a strong position to rebuild our economy because the Hoosier workforce is second to none,” Walorski said.

“This investment in career training in Wabash County will open new opportunities in good-paying health care and advanced manufacturing jobs for Hoosier workers and drive new investment in our communities. I was honored to work with Heartland Career Center to ensure this grant was awarded where it will make a real difference in people’s lives, and I look forward to continuing to work together to renew the American Dream.”

According to the Commerce Department, the funding will be matched with $1 million in local funds to help create or retain nearly 150 jobs and spur private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed and President Trump signed into law in 2017, Opportunity Zones drive private investment toward economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide.

The Paper of Wabash County spoke with Heartland director Mark Hobbs about the plans for the new facility.

“Having just received the grant, we have grant paperwork that has to be finalized and signed,” he said.  “Along with Tony Pulley, our board president, and our school board attorney, Steve Downs, we will be speaking with each of our five corporation school boards in the coming days.  According to the grant, the start of Construction has to be within 18 months from the date of the award and has to be completed with 53 months from the date of the award.”

The facility, which will be built on the HCC property, facing Parkview Hospital, will mainly be used for adult training leading to industry recognized certificates, but will also be accessible for high school students.

“This year we have more students and more programs than we have ever had, which is a really good challenge to have.  We have no available space to grow additional programming or allow more students into our Career and Technical Education programs.”

The new building will be a steel construction building approximately 120 feet by 250 feet single story building, Hobbs said.

There will be 9,000 square feet of classroom space, with the remainder of the space being open concept for advanced manufacturing flex training space.  

Posted on 2020 Nov 10