Issue: Education

Walorski Highlights Local Initiative in Hearing on How Young Adults Can Break the Cycle of Poverty

Walorski Highlights Local Initiative in Hearing on How Young Adults Can Break the Cycle of Poverty

The Excel Center, a Goodwill Program, Offers Hoosier Adults Opportunity to Earn Their High School Diploma

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources highlighted The Excel Center in South Bend, a Goodwill of Northern Indiana program bringing better opportunities to Hoosiers.

The hearing, entitled “Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break the Cycle of Poverty,” included testimony from Jameela Roland, a recent graduate of Year Up, a nationwide program similar to The Excel Center. In asking Roland about her experience, Walorski pointed to The Excel Center’s emphasis on adapting to students’ needs to best equip them for a successful career, whether that means job training and certification or college preparation.

“Goodwill of Northern Indiana, they talk about ‘career and college,’ not ‘college and career,’ and I think when we can start breaking that mindset and setting young people free, they don’t have to go with that one mode or one model,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Initiatives like the Excel Center in my District or Year Up that you’ve been involved in, they’re locally driven, they adapt to individuals, they are what make that bridge out of poverty.”

Video of the hearing, including Walorski’s questions, is available here.

BACKGROUND

The hearing highlighted how innovative solutions, rather than one-size-fits-all approaches, are helping young Americans ages 16 to 24 break the cycle of poverty and move up the economic ladder.

According to data from Opportunity Nation, 17 percent of youth ages 16 to 24 in Indiana’s 2nd District are neither in school nor working – higher than the national average of 13.2 percent. Local organizations like Goodwill of Northern Indiana provide youth and young adults opportunities to enter the workforce and achieve their full potential.

The Excel Center is a free, public school where adults can earn a high school diploma, college credits, industry certifications, and on-the-job training. The program provides individualized services, including life coaches, child care, transportation assistance, and flexible schedules to ensure successful outcomes.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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In the News: ABC57: Walorski visits Riley High School’s magnet program students

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Walorski visits Riley High School’s magnet program students

by Sara Rivest

… On Wednesday, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Spells  took a tour of the school and visited several of the classes.

Walorski, a graduate of Riley High School, met with students, answered their questions, and learned more about the program.

“To see the tools that these kids have today, everyone is in front of a computer, everyone in front of something that has to do with electronics, problem solving, it’s certainly completely suited for the future that we’re facing. We’re the largest manufacturing district in the country and to keep expanding our opportunities we need students like this walking right out into the job force and being so knowledgeable. I just told them take advantage of every minute, soak it in and use it,” said Walorski.

Read the full story here.

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Walorski Tours Riley H.S. Engineering Program with South Bend Superintendent Spells

Walorski Tours Riley H.S. Engineering Program with South Bend Superintendent Spells

School’s Technology and Engineering Magnet Program Gives Students Hands-On Learning, Scholarship Opportunities

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) joined Dr. Kenneth Spells, superintendent of South Bend Community School Corporation, on a tour of Riley High School to learn more about its Technology and Engineering Magnet Program and discuss working together to improve education for Hoosier students.

“As a graduate of Riley High School, I’m inspired to see this school leading the way to innovation and success in the 21st century economy,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These young men and women are our future, and with their dedicated teachers and engaging STEM program, they are learning the skills they need to succeed. It’s an honor to work with Dr. Spells on Team South Bend to make sure every student has the opportunity to thrive.”

“We are honored to have Congresswoman Walorski on Team South Bend,” Dr. Spells said. “The staff and students at Riley High School were proud to demonstrate how they create, design, build, discover, and collaborate using technology and engineering through their project-based instruction. We invite her to visit any of our schools to witness dedicated teachers, engaged students, and innovation instruction.”

The school’s magnet program is certified as an Innovation High School through Project Lead the Way, the nation’s leading Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum provider. Students in the magnet program engage in project-based learning in areas such as computer science and engineering, and they can earn college credit and access scholarship opportunities.

In December 2015, Congress passed and the president signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which overhauled the No Child Left Behind Act and updated federal education policy. The new law, which Walorski supported, prioritizes STEM education, including through expanded resources for STEM programs and professional development for STEM teachers.

Walorski is a graduate of Riley High School.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Indiana Delegation Files Legislation to Assist Veterans Harmed by ITT Tech Closure

Indiana Delegation Files Legislation to Assist Veterans Harmed by ITT Tech Closure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Luke Messer (IN-06), Todd Young (IN-09), and other members of the Indiana congressional delegation filed legislation today to assist veterans harmed by the recent closure of  ITT Technical Institute.

ITT Tech ceased operations last week, closing 130 campuses nationwide and impacting an estimated 40,000 students, including nearly 7,000 veterans.

While current federal law allows students to have their federal student loans discharged if they are unable to complete a degree program due to the closure of an institution, there is no similar provision for veterans who used GI Bill educational benefits to pursue a degree.

H.R. 6003 would allow veterans to recover their GI Bill educational benefits if they were using their benefits at a college or university that closes, preventing them from completing their degree. The bill would apply to all veterans who were enrolled at ITT Tech at the time it closed.

“Our veterans fought to defend the American Dream for all of us – we can’t let them lose their own shot at the American Dream,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We have a responsibility to help veterans who, because of circumstances beyond their control, have been left without the degree they were working toward. This bill ensures they can make full use of the benefits they earned.”

“Thousands of veterans invested their time and educational benefits to attend ITT Tech, and now they are left without a degree or path forward,” Messer said. “As part of our enduring commitment to America’s veterans, we must be ready to assist the servicemen and women who use their benefits to pursue a degree at an institution that has failed.”

“The veterans impacted by ITT Tech’s closure deserve an immediate resolution,” Young said. “The first item on our Congressional checklist must be to make these veterans whole, with no justification for delay. It is my hope to see our legislation move swiftly to passage, as it guarantees every single veteran receives, in full, the education they earned.”

Indiana Reps. Susan Brooks (IN-05), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), and Todd Rokita (IN-04) are also sponsoring the bill.

“GI bill education benefits are a promise that we make to the brave men and women who serve our country, and it’s one that our nation must keep,” said Brooks, in whose district ITT Tech was formerly based. “The opportunity to further your education and develop the skills and expertise for a career after the military is an opportunity that our veterans earn through service. This bill makes sure that every veteran has this opportunity, and protects our veterans when an institution of higher education closes. We owe it to our servicemen and women.”

Messer also sent a letter to the Department of Education last week demanding more information about the potential sale of ITT Tech’s campuses, other proposals offered by ITT Tech to reimburse students, and what actions are being taken by the Education Department to protect taxpayers.

The Department of Education created a webpage to provide information and assistance to ITT Tech students here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Honors South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative Director Paula Nichols with ‘Who’s Who in IN-02’

Weekly initiative highlights a local Hoosier or business for notable achievements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) announced this week’s honoree for her ‘Who’s Who in IN-02’ initiative during a speech on the House floor. In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Walorski paid tribute to South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative Director Paula Nichols for her dedication to providing services to 1,489 students of varying disabilities, including those with down syndrome.

South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative serves students in LaPorte Community Schools, New Prairie United School Corporation, Westville School, South Central Schools, Lacrosse, and Wanatah. The cooperative employs 97 teachers and 50 paraprofessionals, ensuring that students receive high-quality instruction and have positive learning experiences.

“Currently, the demand for qualified teachers, especially in special education, is increasing at a pace far greater than existing communities can produce. Thanks to Paula’s dedication, South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative provides students with services that empower students to become active members of society based on their individual strengths and abilities,” Walorski said. “On behalf of the people of the Second Congressional District of Indiana, I thank Paula for working with parents, schools, students, and the community to create an environment that celebrates and embraces individuality and accommodates diverse learning needs.”

Walorski visited the South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative last year and has consistently supported legislation for special education funding. In December 2013, the House passed the Kid’s First Research Act, which directed $126 million in federal funding to pediatric medical research.

Watch Walorski’s floor speech here

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Honors Wabash Teacher Jenna McGivney for ‘Who’s Who in IN-02

Weekly initiative highlights a local Hoosier or business for notable achievements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) announced this week’s honoree for her ‘Who’s Who in IN-02’ initiative. During a speech on the House floor, Walorski congratulated educator Jenna McGivney of Southwood Junior-Senior High School for being selected to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute.

The teacher institute is reserved for teachers around the country and trains them in primary-source-based teaching strategies to take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and share with colleagues.

I want to thank Jenna McGivney for her dedication to providing the highest quality of education to young Hoosiers,” said Walorski. “Because of the hard work of passionate teachers such as Ms. McGivney, young Hoosiers are properly prepared to enter the ever-changing workforce. On behalf of the people of the Second Congressional District of Indiana, I thank Jenna for serving as a role model for the entire Hoosier community.”

Watch Walorski’s floor speech here

Walorski honored Jenna McGivney as part of her initiative called ‘Who’s Who in IN-02.’ Each week, Walorski will highlight notable Hoosiers, companies, and organizations that are making valuable contributions in the Second Congressional District.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Visits Xavier School of Excellence to Highlight National Preparedness Month

Mishawaka, Ind. – In honor of National Preparedness Month, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today visited Xavier School of Excellence to tour the school, attend a preparedness assembly, and participate in a schoolwide weather drill. In addition, the American Red Cross attended the event to explain the Monster Guard Phone App they created to teach students how to prepare for emergencies and presented the school with a weather radio.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Wraps Up Districtwide “Hoosier Education Tour”

Visited ten schools across the Second Congressional District

Mishawaka, Ind. After three days of touring schools across the Second Congressional District, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) ended her ‘Walorski Education Tour’ in St. Joseph County at Penn High School earlier today.

During her districtwide tour, Walorski saw workforce training programs that prepare students with real-world skills necessary to obtain a job, visited with students, and toured schools with outstanding programs in various subject areas – all to learn more about what northern Indiana is doing to ensure Hoosier children can compete in a globally competitive economy.

“I cannot stress enough how important a quality education is to future generations,” Walorski said. “That’s why I wanted to take an opportunity to go into schools and see what they’re doing to prepare out next generation of leaders for careers in a competitive workforce. After traveling the district to visit with students and teachers, I’m so impressed with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills students are learning at every level, it’s truly remarkable. If we’re looking to these students to be the future workforce, I’m confident they are learning the skills now that will be integral to their success later in life.”

During the last two days of the tour, Walorski visited:

  • Plymouth High School –Walorski, along with students and educators, surprised Principal James Condon with a Congressional Record honoring him for winning the State of Indiana Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals during an all-school assembly in the school gymnasium.
  • Roosevelt Elementary – Walorski sat in a fourth grade orchestra class and also visited with students participating in the school’s ROTC program.
  • Claypool Elementary – Walorski met with students on a mobile STEM lab, thanks to WILL, the Warsaw Inquiry Learning Laboratory, and watched students perform a science experiment in an effort to equip students with the use of technology and science-based skills.
  • Manchester High School – Walorski met with faculty and learned about the Farm2School program, a national initiative dedicated to getting locally sourced food into school cafeterias. She also met with a senior Environmental Science class and spoke about her work on the House Committee on Agriculture.
  • North Miami High School – During a school wide assembly, Walorski presented the North Miami FFA students with a Congressional Record for their efforts to raise money for fellow student, Evan Exmeyer, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to build a custom vehicle to access every part of his family farm.
  • Maconaquah Middle School – Walorski learned more about the school’s advanced use of technology for teaching and learning after receiving a STEM Grant of $440,000 to improve their STEM program.
  • Penn Harris High School – Walorski toured the school’s health and human services academy that prepares students for careers in those fields.

On Monday, she visited:

  • Pulaski County – Walorski visited Winamac High School to learn about the school’s credit recovery program. Winamac Junior Senior High School is improving their academic program through their credit recovery program, where students can work in a lab for 1-2 periods and retake classes in English and Biology.
  • Starke County – Walorski visited North Judson-San Pierre High School to highlight the school’s A+ Recovery Program.
  • LaPorte County – Walorski visited Rolling Prairie Elementary School to read to first graders and promote the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program.

Note – Due to fog delays, stops in Fulton and Marshall were cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Click here to view more photos from the tour.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Honors North Miami FFA Members for ‘Who’s Who in IN-02’

Weekly initiative highlights a local Hoosier or business for notable achievements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced this week’s honoree for her ‘Who’s Who in IN-02’ initiative. During a speech on the House floor, Walorski congratulated the North Miami Future Farmers of America (FFA) for raising funds to help fellow student Evan Exmeyer, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

The group raised over $20,000 to purchase and modify a UTV Gator, giving Exmeyer better accessibility on his farm. Exmeyer previously relied on a wheelchair accessible van, which was unable to travel to every part of his family’s land.

I want to thank the North Miami FFA students, teachers and the entire community for their dedication to helping one of their own,” said Walorski. “Because of these hardworking students and generous Hoosiers, Evan has the freedom to explore areas of his family farm that until recently, were off limits. On behalf of the people of the Second Congressional District of Indiana, I thank the North Miami FFA students for serving as role models for the entire Hoosier community.”

Watch Walorski’s floor speech here

Walorski honored the North Miami FFA members as part of her new initiative called ‘Who’s Who in IN-02.’ Each week, Walorski will highlight notable Hoosiers, companies, and organizations that are making valuable contributions in the Second Congressional District. Once session resumes in the House in early September, Walorski will continue her weekly initiative.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Announces Winners of 2015 Congressional Artwork Competition

Announced Winners at South Bend Airport Reception

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) awarded Krista Smith, a student at Penn High School with first place in the 2015 Congressional Art Competition from the Second Congressional District for her artwork titled, “The Sigh of a Gypsy Queen”. Smith’s artwork placed first out of 87 entries submitted to Walorski’s office from around the district.

“This year’s applicants were talented and submitted some outstanding artwork for the Congressional Art Competition. Every year, I look forward to seeing the different entries, and this year I was overwhelmed by the level of talent in our community’s young artists,” Walorski said. “Each of these students should be proud of their accomplishment and I thank each of them for participating.”

Walorski presented the finalists with their awards Saturday morning at a reception for the finalists at the South Bend Airport.

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent across the nation from each Congressional district.

A judging panel comprised of four local artists helped select a winning entry, which will not be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to recognize the artistic talents of high school students in their districts. Since then, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

2015 Finalists and Winners

1st Place – Krista Smith – “The Sigh of a Gypsy Queen” – Penn High School
2nd Place – Mikayla Karasek – “Hotel: Extreme Black & White” – Elkhart Central High School
3rd Place – YeJee Oh – “Concert Day” – Penn High School
4th Place – Megan Brown – “The Evil Eye” – Penn High School
5th Place – Aubrey Castleman – “Soy Bean Factory in Central IN” – Elkhart Central High School
6th Place – Olivia Haworth – “Eric 5th Grade” – Elkhart Central High School
7th Place – Matthew McDonough – “Fall Walk” – Elkhart Central High School
8th Place – Morgan Ness – “What a Wonderful World” – Penn High School
9th Place – Caitlin Stout – “Rotations” – Penn High School
10th Place – Mackensie Swift – “Pleading” – Elkhart Memorial High School
11th Place – Addison Warner – “Elderly Addison” – Clay High School

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