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Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) has been selected as the 2016 Business of the Year by Goodwill Industries of Michiana.

According to a release, the Business of the Year award recognizes one business that reflects the ideals of Goodwill Industries of Michiana through a commitment to empowering families in the greater Michiana community by providing jobs and training for people with barriers to employment. In 2016, LCI collaborated with Goodwill through job fairs and hiring events that led to the employment of 38 individuals, many of whom were involved with LCI’s welding training program.

“We are so pleased to name LCI as our Business of the Year. One of the main reasons that LCI was selected was the commitment we have seen to create opportunities for livable wage jobs by providing innovative training programs,” said Debie Coble, Goodwill president and CEO. “That’s a long-winded way of saying we really like the ‘out of the box’ approach to the welding training that is taking place in the Chassis Division. It’s practical, hands on, and real world and it reflects Goodwill’s ‘hand-up, not a hand-out’ philosophy.”

LCI’s 12-week paid training program graduated its first class of students in September of 2016. Thanks to a grant made possible by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Skill UP Indiana program, students can earn an advanced welding certificate and credits from Vincennes University to use towards an associate degree in welding. After graduating, LCI hires the newly trained individuals.

“With such a short supply and strong demand for skilled labor, it is imperative that we develop multiple community and State relationships to deliver the skilled or trainable team members necessary to service our operational needs. We’re honored to receive the award and are very thankful for our partnership with Goodwill,” commented Nick Fletcher, LCI’s chief human resources officer.

The award will be presented to LCI on April 27 at Goodwill’s Little Black Dress Fashion Show at the Hilton Garden Inn, Gillespie Center in South Bend, Ind. Additionally, Goodwill’s Graduate of the Year, Jay Wade, is a Front Line Leader at Plant No. 58 in Elkhart.