2016: Year In Review

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Gifts, grants, scholarships highlight 2016 for CFSC, Inc.

By Pam Acton and Melissa Andrews,

Community Foundation of Switzerland County

The Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc., had an exciting 2016.

Some of the highlights include:

• A matching gift initiative called the Double Your Dollars Challenge. The Challenge matched all gifts to permanent funds (often called endowments) held in the Community Foundation. For every dollar contributed to a permanent fund, the Foundation matched it with another dollar.

• Receiving accreditation with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. This accreditation indicates that the Community Foundation meets the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. “Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Randy Royster, Chair of the Community Foundations National Standards Board. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates that the Community Foundation of Switzerland County demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity and accountability as it carries out its mission.”

• Six permanent endowments were created to benefit the residents of Switzerland County.

• A total of $360,000 was awarded in grants and scholarships.

• Eleven grant requests totaling $51,941 were approved from the Community Foundation’s Community Funds.

• 67 scholarships were awarded to 46 different students planning to continue their post-secondary educations.

• Makenzie Mathews from the Class of 2016 was awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in March. Lilly Endowment Inc., changed the time frame for when the scholarship was awarded, so in December it was announced that MacKenzie Covington from the Class of 2017 would also be a recipient of the scholarship.

• In 2016, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Switzerland County had 60 children graduate from the program (they turned 5) and 84 children that signed up to participate in the program. A total of 2,985 books were sent to Switzerland County children during 2016. Children five years of age and under that reside in Switzerland County are eligible to receive the free books.

To enroll, parents must register their children by visiting the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library website at www.imaginationlibrary.com or by calling the Community Foundation’s office at (812) 427-9160.

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The Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc. looks forward to another great year in 2017. In January, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors will be holding its annual board retreat to determine what the priorities will be for 2017. We will continue to keep everyone updated of any news we have as it happens.

Economic Development here focuses on future

By Jon Bond, President

Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation

2016 brought some big news to our area that could impact our community for years to come.

This fall, the State of Indiana announced that it is considering the former Tanners Creek power plant facility in Lawrenceburg for its fourth port location. The entire process could take years as the site is demolished and the environmental cleanup begins. The development of the port and supporting infrastructure itself is a very long-term endeavor, requiring the development of new and improved highway systems to move people and products. Over time, these investments can lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.

The Lewis and Clark Bridge opened between Louisville and Jeffersonville on December 18th. This east-end bridge was the last item on the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project. This bridge is important to Switzerland County because it connects Interstate 71 with the Port of Jeffersonville and the River Ridge Commerce Park.

Duke has recently received state approval to begin construction on a $152 million upgrade to its Hydro Power Plant at the Markland Dam. The project will start in 2017 and is expected to last four years. Once the upgrade is complete, the facility is expected to generate 65 MW of renewal power. The Duke facility is just one business in the area that is either currently expanding or in the planning phases of an expansion. In fact, there is currently over $1 billion worth of investment currently happening within a 10 minute drive of the Duke facility.

In 2016, we also continued our focus on creating opportunities through workforce training. This was done through a mix of old and new services:

– The Switzerland County Technology and Education Center (TEC) partnered with the Eleven Fifty Academy to bring “Cool Coding Week” to Switzerland County. Our community was the smallest in Indiana to offer this opportunity to its residents. Coding Week brought four instructors to talk to students over the course of the week. The instructors provided grade-specific information about the importance of computer coding in tomorrow’s economy. Over 1,100 Switzerland County school students were introduced to computer coding as a rewarding career choice. Feedback from students and school teachers was very positive.

The Academy’s “Introduction to Coding” course was also offered to Switzerland County residents at no cost, thanks to a grant from the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation.

– The TEC Center partnered with WorkOne to again offer a career fair/hiring event. Over 100 people participated, and 40 employers seeking to hire were represented. With Switzerland County’s unemployment rate at a low 4.2-percent in November, employers were grateful for the opportunity to meet job-seekers and potential employees. Employers from throughout the region attended the career fair, including businesses located in Ohio and Kentucky. The TEC Center continued to host a once-weekly staffed office of WorkOne, Indiana’s employment assistance outreach program. A WorkOne office at the TEC Center saves Switzerland County residents from having to drive to Lawrenceburg or Madison for employment services. Over 200 residents utilized this service in 2016.

Our focus on adult education continued in 2016. High School Equivalency classes (formerly called GED classes) were held monthly (except July) throughout the year. The classes are self-paced and taught by River Valley Resources staff. Adults without a high school diploma are given an initial assessment to determine how close they are to being ready to pass the HSE exam. Many students are able to successfully take the HSE exam within three to six months after starting the class. In 2017, classes will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the TEC Center. And for 2017, there remains no cost for this class to our residents.

The TEC Center continued to partner with Ivy Tech and the Switzerland County School Corporation to offer college credit courses. During the school year, Switzerland County High School students may take up to two college-level courses for both college credit and credit towards their high school graduation. During the summer, an accelerated college credit course is offered to the public. 45 Switzerland County residents earned college credit at the TEC Center in 2016. The TEC Center is working with Ivy Tech to increase the number of courses offered in Switzerland County in 2017.

The TEC Center introduced a new service to Switzerland County residents in 2016. An adult guidance coach was hired to assist residents 18 and older who wish to continue their education. Switzerland County has over 1,300 residents with some college, but no degree. Adults resuming their college studies face additional obstacles, and the TEC Center’s adult guidance coach can help residents overcome these hurdles.

We at the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2017 and look forward to reporting back on our progress.