Columbus-based CivicLab seeking to boost rural workforce training

Sep 21, 2021

A nonprofit in Columbus focused on civic collaboration is looking for a handful of rural communities that want to improve their education and workforce training systems.
Credit Joe Hren/WFIU, WTIU

A nonprofit in Columbus, Indiana focused on civic collaboration is looking for a handful of rural communities that want to improve their education and workforce training systems. It comes out of a newly awarded grant of $750,000 from a national education philanthropy named Ascendium.

CivicLab plans to select six to eight communities to coach through developing systems that help train lower-income workers for better jobs over the next two years. The rural areas they’re targeting don’t have to be in Indiana, but they encourage communities in the state to apply if they're interested. 

Dakota Pawlicki, director of talent hubs at CivicLab, said the communities will get to design their own goals as long as they lead to a stronger workforce. He said it's part of their collaborative approach to support to each area's unique needs rather than dangling incentives for one specific outcome.

“Our ultimate end is to really ensure that more rural residents have social mobility and the opportunity to live an economically prosperous life,” he said.

CivicLab hasn’t opened the application for communities to apply yet, but anticipates it will be ready to accept them starting in October.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.