New program gives businesses opportunity to teach local students


COLUMBIA CITY — Preparing students for the future can be tough, but Whitley County’s three school districts are coming together to help their students become a talented work force. This program is possible because of a grant the schools received from the Lilly Endowment.

The new program is called Whitley Works. The plan involves Smith-Green Community Schools, Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Whitko Community Schools working together with local businesses to help get students ready to move forward after high school.

“Our goal is to help students see what job possibilities are out there, what occupations are available and what pathway students need to follow to get there,” Lori Heuer talent development director, said.

According to Heuer, Whitley Works is a way for local businesses to get involved in training their future workforce. She said if students are going to succeed, then they need the help of businesses to learn what kind of skills will help them move forward into the working world.

“The first focus we’re going to work on is work ethics. We want to hear from business leaders about what soft skills we can supplement into curriculum to help students be prepared to be good workers,” Heuer said.

A planning summit will be held on Wednesday, March 22 at Eagle Glen Event Center, Columbia City. This summit is open to businesses interested in working with students. Breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting starts at 9 a.m.

Interested parties are asked to RSVP with Heuer. She can be reached at