The Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) was recently awarded a two-year grant from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County (CFEC). The grant will support the hiring of Elkhart County college and high school students as well as Notre Dame students who will work on four community-engaged civic innovation projects. To read the press release, visit https://civicinnovation.nd.edu/news/cfec-cci-press-release/.
The CFEC has been an important supporter of CCI since 2018, when the first Elkhart internship pilot project was launched. The project surveyed neighborhoods severely impacted by an extreme flooding event earlier that year. A team of four Elkhart high school students and one Notre Dame student mapped flood-damaged homes and homes near the affected area.
The CCI Elkhart internship program grew to include 16 interns the second summer thanks to further investment from the CFEC. In year three, the program grew to add a full-time site coordinator funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Looking forward to its fourth year of programming in Elkhart, the CCI internship program hopes to further develop its roots in the community through partnerships and the relationships it forms with interns who grow up in the neighborhoods it serves.
One such intern is Kalley Slater, an Elkhart native and 2020 CCI Intern currently studying Cyber Security at Ivy Tech Community College. She graduated from Elkhart High School in 2020 and expects to receive her Ivy Tech diploma in 2023.
As a CCI Intern Kalley worked with Jason Inman, Director of the Elkhart Community Schools (ECS) Technology Services. She and her team worked to gather critical student information that would eventually help them contribute to a grant that helped ECS purchase 4G high-speed internet connected iPads for their students .
During an all-team meeting that included Kalley, Jason Inman, and the rest of the interns, Kalley mentioned she was looking for a job. Inman responded that a student job at the service desk would be hiring soon and encouraged Kalley to apply.
Kalley now works as a Temporary Support Technician in the Technology Services Building at ECS answering calls from students and staff to assign help tickets. The help tickets detail the kind of issue the caller has and is sent to the appropriate person. This requires Kalley to be familiar with a wide range of general knowledge. Kalley was also involved in setting up iPads for children this past fall and getting the devices delivered during the Pandemic.
Part of Kalley’s job involves successful communication; she talked about how one of the greatest challenges for her, “even before the job started is that I’m quiet and talking to people and learning how to deal with people over the phone.”
When asked what she enjoyed most about her current job, Kalley said, “that I get to help people, and that I get to work with the schools in general and be part of the community.” When asked what she most valued about her CCI Internship experience, Kalley replied, “The mentors, the adults, and everyone who helped were an important part of the internship.”
Today, Kalley is looking for hardware and electronic repair jobs in the area as she seeks to continue building on her already rich experience based in Elkhart.