Erskine Green Training Institute Provides Hands-on Job Training and Much More
Writer / Jerry Winans
Photographer / Dylan Senkus
Daniel Gurulé is manager of donor relations at Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) in downtown Muncie. How does someone raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, find his life’s calling in central Indiana educating young adults with disabilities?
Sometimes people you meet can change your life’s direction.
When Gurulé (pronounced “gir-lay”) enrolled at New Mexico State University, he majored in education. But a part-time job during his third year changed his life. He met Jeff, a community college student with muscular dystrophy in a wheelchair. Jeff needed someone to feed him lunch and empty his catheter. His life expectancy was about 25 years.
“Meeting Jeff was one of those moments in your life when you see somebody who has it harder than you,” says Gurulé. “But he didn’t complain. He didn’t whine. He knew that his disability, his disease, was going to cause him to die soon.”
A friendship soon developed. “I was moved by his desire to live the most out of the life he had, no matter how short it is,” says Gurulé.
The next semester, Gurulé changed his degree major to special education, and later changed schools and earned a degree in Christian ministries. He became a Bible teacher at a faith-based academy and a part-time youth pastor. His ministry career brought him to Fortville, Indiana, as a full-time associate pastor and youth pastor.
Eventually, Gurulé was drawn back to his first passion, working with young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. For seven years he was a house manager who provided wraparound services to ensure skills learned at school were applied at home. During this time, Gurulé became friends with Megan Carter, a teacher of one of his young-adult clients. Carter was approached about starting the first-of-its-kind training hotel in Muncie, which became EGTI.
A few months later, Carter recruited Gurulé to work at EGTI, which opened in 2016 under The Arc of Indiana Foundation.
EGTI provides vocational training for a variety of jobs in the hotel, food service, health care, and inventory distribution environments. The institute is an immersive learning environment at the Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center.
“We provide opportunities for postsecondary vocational training for people with disabilities that empower and lead to meaningful employment,” says Gurulé. “More than 80% of EGTI graduates are employed in communities throughout Indiana.”
Students receive a uniquely personalized training experience. During the 10- to 13-week training sessions, students attend class, master key job skills and gain valuable work experience through an internship.
“I talk to parents of our students and a word that keeps coming up is ‘hope,’” says Gurulé. “They have hope that their student is going to have an opportunity to live their best life, choose what job to apply for, where they want to live, and how to spend their time and money.”
Erskine Green Training Institute is located at 601 South High Street in Muncie, and can be reached at 765-381-8071 or found online at erskinegreeninstitute.org.