The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Opinion

January 9, 2014

Bill Stanczykiewicz: Employers value youth mentoring

While corporate CEO Bob Taylor spends time reviewing inventory reports, he also takes stock of the next generation.

The company Taylor leads, Do It Best Corp., provides employees with paid time off each week to mentor children. He knows a child who has a relationship with a mentor at least one hour each week tends to do better in school, avoid alcohol and drugs, stay away from crime and pursue healthy opportunities.

As a member of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Taylor also knows mentoring is essential for the Hoosier state’s future economic development. “When you make that business connection, it’s another way of exposing young people early on to the opportunities that are right here in their backyard in Indiana,” Taylor said.

Kim Nymeyer manages the mentoring program for Elkhart General Hospital’s medical group which provides employees with time on the clock to mentor. Nymeyer asserted that in addition to receiving positive youth development, students who are mentored gain new awareness of career possibilities.

“This is a way to expose them to all different types of opportunities and types of jobs that they never would have imagined even existed because their scope is limited in terms of what they’re exposed to,” Nymeyer declared.

Eddie Melton agrees. Melton oversees community engagement for NiSource, headquartered in Merrillville, which includes running a mentoring program for Gary high school students. NiSource allows employees to use company time to mentor. “We believe that having an educated emerging workforce is important to our industry and the communities that we serve,” Melton stated.

Due to mentoring’s positive impact on youth and economic development, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce endorses the business and youth development strategy of providing employees with paid time off each week to mentor. “Mentorships are an integral component of Indiana’s strategy to reduce the dropout rate and improve student preparedness and performance,” said the state chamber’s President and CEO, Kevin Brinegar.

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