There’s no place like it in the United States. When Scott Wise, a successful Indiana restaurant owner, was asked to think about participating in The Arc of Indiana’s one-of-a-kind training institute for people with disabilities — it took him only moments to commit.
Scott, who owns Scottys Brewhouse and Thr3e Wise Men, is probably the savviest Hoosier restaurant owner on Twitter. He doesn’t hold back on his opinions or his business choices. A Verizon customer, he’s quick to tap into technology trends and make his customers happy and well served. With 15 restaurants under his belt and new locations being scoped out in Florida, Illinois and Kentucky, he knew the vision of The Arc was the same as his company’s – “I’ll do good in the world.”
If all goes as planned, this one-of-a-kind training Erskine Green Training Institute will successfully train up to 200 people a year who are able and willing to work, but who are now severely under-employed. Within five years of prepping graduates for all manners of hospitality jobs in the restaurant and hotel business, The Arc of Indiana projects it will save the state of Indiana more than $5 million in what it currently pays out in public assistance.
Why did Scott, a businessman, an employer of 1,500-plus people and a father of four, jump at this opportunity? Four years ago he suffered a near fatal brain infection and realized how fleeting success can be. “I can stand on a pretty big soap box,” he said of his personal success. “I didn’t have to think about this. It was my vision statement come to life.”
At the downtown Muncie site, a Thr3e Wise Men restaurant will be anchored at a new Courtyard by Marriott, managed by General Hotels Corp. Arc Innovations is the owner and will manage all operations with a for-profit board. Scott hopes to have 25% of the restaurant staff filled by graduates of the institute, filling jobs for bartenders, servers and managers.
The 150-room hotel that supports the training institute is also turning out to be a boost to the city of Muncie. It’s already bringing back lost convention business to the city (with an expected opening in December) and now provides a large enough hotel for any football team challenging Ball State University’s Cardinals. Previously, no hotel in the city was large enough to house a competing team for a home game.
Verizon’s team is also visiting the site and working with the staff to explore options for software, hardware and mobile devices that make sense. Our team is exploring how tablets and smart watches can be integrated into the on-site classrooms. We’re consulting on the possibilities that bring together innovators and wireless solutions.
Keeping students current with tech is just part of that experience to be a successful job candidate. As the Indianapolis Business Journal wrote in a recent editorial: “It would be difficult to think of a better win-win-win.”