Growing Teens for Life ‘Catapulting’ teens into Indiana’s workforce

White’s Residential & Family Services will launch a major workforce training module in July 2021 on its Wabash campus. In partnership with Conexus Indiana, White’s ever-growing vocational initiative, Growing Teens for Life (GTFL), will add Catapult, a highly successful training module geared to equipping young adults with the skills demanded by Indiana’s advanced manufacturing sector.

“We are more than excited for the young men and women we serve,” said Ron Evans, CEO and President of White’s RFS. “This collaboration between our residential program and the business sector achieves a major milestone in our strategic planning. White’s RFS and Conexus are dedicated to ensuring the success of  young people as well as the future of Indiana’s economy. We bring those interests  together in this collaboration.”

Conexus Indiana’s Catapult initiative seeks to prepare Hoosiers for some of the more than 85,000 jobs in Indiana that remain unfilled due to a skills mismatch. The program provides participants with hands-on, paid training opportunities that may result in manufacturing positions. It is a 160-hour course over four weeks, and it has graduated more than 3,500 people across the state.

The White’s RFS Wabash campus will be the latest in several locations for a Catapult training site created by Conexus Indiana. Catapult serves unemployed and underemployed adults as well as graduating seniors in Lafayette and Greensburg and is incorporated into the Anderson Manufacturing Program (AMP), with graduation rates nearing 90 percent. The program is also available to individuals separating from the justice system in Branchville; more than 62 percent of separating individuals have received job placement from Catapult to date.

“The industry-led advanced manufacturing training program, Catapult, has helped us build a skilled talent-pipeline for our employers,” said Deborah Waymire, Chief Operations Officer for Region 4 Workforce Board, which helps implement Catapult in Lafayette. “Graduates from the training have the skills to build a career and are able to ‘hit the ground running’ as new hires.  A great benefit to employers and a great return on our investment.”

“Catapult positively impacts participants’ lives by providing them the skills to succeed in an advanced manufacturing career while stemming the talent shortage Indiana advanced manufacturers face,” said Brad Rhorer, Conexus Indiana Chief Talent Programs Officer. “White’s Residential and the Growing Teens for Life program provide life-changing resources and services to youth, and Conexus is honored to partner with such a noble institution.”

In addition to its partnership with White’s RFS, Catapult is expanding in 2021 to Jasper, Ind., in partnership with Radius Indiana and Vincennes University, a women’s correctional facility, in partnership with the Department of Corrections, and Marion County.

“We invite the business and philanthropic community to work with White’s RFS and Growing Teens for Life to continue empowering young men and women,” said White’s RFS Major Gift Officer, Shane Whybrew.

For more information about White’s RFS vocation initiatives, contact Shane at

About White’s Residential and Family Services

White’s Residential and Family Services cares for youth in the juvenile justice and foster care systems through a comprehensive array of services statewide. For more information, go to

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to innovate, invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to