Justin Hicks

Workforce Development Reporter

Justin Hicks has joined the reporting team for Indiana Public Broadcasting News (IPB News) through funding made available by (IPBS) Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Justin will be based out of WVPE in his new role as a Workforce Development Reporter for IPB News. 

Justin comes to Indiana by way of New York. He has a Master's Degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He previously earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet. He first learned about Elkhart, Indiana, because of the stamp on his brass instrument indicating where it was produced. 

Not long ago, Justin started a branch of Young Eisner Scholars to work with intellectually curious students in Appalachia. He traveled through rural counties to start a dialogue about math, computer programming, writing, science and philosophy. 

Justin was born and raised in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. He currently lives in South Bend with his dog, Charlotte. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Workers from Indiana’s Caesars casinos rallied for higher wages and better health plans on Thursday in Shelbyville. Employees from the Indiana Grand Racing & Casino and Caesars Southern Indiana Casino came together ahead of contract negotiations.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has confirmed that a worker at a Kokomo transmission plant tested positive for the coronavirus. The company says production will continue normally. 

Employees at the transmission plant were notified Thursday that one of their coworkers has a confirmed case of COVID-19. The employee has been hospitalized and nearby workers are being quarantined for 14 days. Still, some are wondering if it’s safe to come to work.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

NEW: A special prosecutor has announced that the white South Bend officer who shot and killed a black man in South Bend last summer will not be charged for the shooting. Special prosecutor Richard Hertel has announced that officer Ryan O’Neill will not be charged for shooting Eric Logan because the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force was not justified. However, in a separate case, Hertel has announced that O’Neill is being charged with several charges related to allegations that he picked up a prostitute in May.  He was arrested and booked at the St. Joseph Co.

Courtesy of Bosma Enterprises

While unemployment rates stay low in Indiana, almost two-thirds of Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired are jobless. One nonprofit in Indianapolis is trying to change that by giving training and jobs to people with visual impairments. 

More than half of Bosma Enterprises employees are blind or visually impaired. They work in jobs ranging from warehousing to producing surgical gloves and ice melt. The nonprofit also partners with Indiana companies interested in hiring visually impaired workers. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Vice President Mike Pence made no mention of the ongoing impeachment inquiry during a speech in Indianapolis Wednesday night. Instead, he highlighted several Trump administration workforce policies.

During his speech, Pence touted the administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers, an initiative where companies and states commit to career training. He also applauded Gov. Eric Holcomb’s increase in career and technical education funding.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet is getting public input on the state’s workforce programs to shape a federal funding proposal. The cabinet held its ninth listening session across the state in South Bend.

In order to receive millions of dollars in federal workforce funding, the cabinet is required to ask for public input. So far, the cabinet has received most of its questions about how Perkins funding will be used for education programs and concerns about barriers to services like transportation and lack of childcare.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

More than 500 community members crowded into the Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ Sunday afternoon for Faith in Indiana’s Peacemaker Summit. The event was in response to the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan and the rise of gun violence in South Bend.

Faith leaders publicly appealed to elected officials to fund initiatives including a national program called the Peacemaker Fellowship. Council President Tim Scott says the city is allocating $350,000 for a Group Violence Intervention Project.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

The RV industry is celebrating a grand opening of its newest facility in Elkhart Monday. The RV Technical Institute will help reduce a shortage of workers who repair recreational vehicles.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown) and representatives from the RV industry association will celebrate the grand opening of the technical institute. It represents a $10 million commitment from the RV Industry Association to reduce a significant shortage of repair technicians.   

A yard sale participating in US 12 Heritage Trail Garage Sale on Saturday, the longest garage sale in Michigan.
Justin Hicks / WPVE

Did you go to Michigan's Longest Garage Sale this weekend?  WVPE's Justin Hicks did and he's got the pictures to prove it. Check out his photo gallery. 

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski gave an update on their police recruitment efforts this afternoon and the various ways they’re attempting to diversify the police force. 

The South Bend Police Department held a recruitment open house Saturday morning to encourage prospective applicants. It gave potential officers the opportunity to ask questions and practice the required Physical Agility Test.

People interested in applying to the department did vertical jumps, sit ups and push ups at the Fire Department’s Training Center. But most attendees said they came simply to ask questions about the process from the police officers there. 

South Bend City Clerk Kareemah Fowler announced her resignation from her elected office Tuesday morning to start a new job with South Bend Schools. 

 

Several South Bend activists and a family member of Eric Logan expressed their frustration at the lack of changes following the police shooting of Logan on June 16. They also started a petition demanding that Mayor Pete Buttigieg recommend punitive action against the officer.

A special prosecutor assigned to investigate the fatal police shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan spoke to the press this morning in South Bend. He has marshalled detectives from the Indiana State Police force to aid in the task. 

Special Prosecutor Richard Hertel, who is out of Ripley County, Indiana, told media he wanted to introduce himself before talking to potential witnesses and reviewing evidence from the case. He said he has spoken to Logan’s family members and homicide detectives and urged anyone with information about the June 16 shooting to come forward.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg updated the city’s Common Council Monday night on his progress in addressing the police shooting of Eric Logan on June 16. He announced no specific plans, but gave a general preview of things to come.

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