Among the many categories of recognition at the Sheboygan County Chamber's annual Champions Gala is the Working Together Award. The Working Together Award honors collaborative projects involving Business and one or more of the following: Education, Non-Profit, Government.
Congratulations to all nominees, especially those projects that involve and positively impact students in the Sheboygan Area School District:
The Portable Shelter Initiative: IDEAS Academy with Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity & ReStore and Veteran's Outreach of Wisconsin
Where else can you start with zero budget and create portable housing for homeless veterans? There is something remarkably empowering about a class at IDEAS Academy, that tackled the problem of homeless veterans in Eastern Wisconsin by collaborating with Habitat for Humanity to build portable shelters. This temporary, autonomous housing keeps veterans in proximity with their peers with the goal of transitioning to permanent housing. It took 5,500 hours of student time, during which they quickly learned that designs and deadlines don't always mesh. Because they partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the students needed to design portable shelters to be adaptable to material availability and timelines. Often, they encountered materials or skills gaps and were resourceful enough to keep a list of people who took action on their behalf. More than 14 community businesses and organizations contributed, marshalling resources and serving as advocates. The students built not only temporary housing, but skill sets to carry them well into the future.
Sheboygan Summer Lunch Program
Over 50% of Sheboygan students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. That means that more than half of the school-aged children you see could be hungry. And their need doesn't abate in the summer. That's where the Sheboygan Summer Lunch Program steps in. For six weeks, Monday through Thursday, over 600 youth in our community receive a nutritious lunch and education on healthy eating. The meal program and Nourish Thursdays are a collaboration between the Sheboygan Area School District, Nourish, Boys and Girls Clubs, AJ Produce, HSA Bank, Sheboygan Service Club, and other volunteers. The goal is simple: provide youth with healthy lunches during the summer and each Thursday, feature a local, fresh food. The collaboration began six years ago and continues as it started with minimal equipment, a minimal budget, and many community volunteers. The rewards are equally numerous: smiles on the faces of well-fed children, lots of friendships built and plenty of high-fives for everyone.
Red Raider Manufacturing
Red Raider Manufacturing's goal is to graduate students with a high level of technical skill and ability, allowing employees to realize a significant decrease in training expenditures. Pretty straightforward, right? In 2015, the Red Raider team secured $3.2 million in investments from local businesses, hoping this would be matched by a grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration. The grant was denied, but the team persevered. They returned to major investors, who responded by assisting in the purchase of equipment. The team also decreased the overall cost of the project by $1 million through leveraging suppliers. Some of the team's goals include increasing the number of students taking technical education courses and engaged in work-based learning opportunities by 100% over the next two years. Red Raider Manufacturing has placed more than 50 students in work-based learning opportunities in just it's second semester, a testament to their partnership with 43 local companies who responded, making the program a success.