Last week you may have read in the news and in The Arc’s e-newsletter that we are exploring building a hotel in Muncie, Indiana.
So why in the world is The Arc of Indiana thinking about building a hotel? I’m sure that’s a question a lot of people are asking right now. And the truth is there are a lot of reasons.
Reason #1 – In November 2011 we unveiled our Blueprint for Change. This is the document that came out of our Building Pathways to Empowerment campaign and focuses on how we can better use the resources that we have to help more people live better lives. One of the five guiding principals focuses on employment. The sad fact is that 78% of individuals with disabilities are unemployed. We need to look at every opportunity that will help people go to work.
Reason #2 – The hospitality industry is growing. Last year they added 80,000 new jobs. This is an area where individuals with disabilities can not only shine but excel.
Reason #3 – There are a lot of very talented and capable individuals with disabilities who have been told that there are no post secondary options for them. Since that first group of families met in 1956 The Arc has always looked at areas where we have been told no and asked why not. If no opportunities currently exist why can’t we build them?
Reason #4 – The City of Muncie has embraced The Arc of Indiana and share our vision that a community should be accessible to everyone and provide opportunities for everyone.
But the main reason why we are considering building a hotel is because of the visionary thinking of one of our volunteers – Jeff Huffman. Jeff gets up every day and challenges himself to do one thing that makes the world better for his son. He knows that if you keep doing the same thing you are going to keep getting the same results and that’s not good enough.
Jeff came to The Arc with the idea of creating a training program so that individuals with disabilities could work in the hospitality industry. It’s something that has never been done before and if we proceed will change the lives of hundreds of Hoosiers with disabilities.
We are currently in the process of completing a feasibility study and hope to make an announcement soon. It’s a very exciting time at The Arc and we will keep you posted as this moves forward.