Courtyard Muncie Paves the Way for People With Special Needs

By Hayley Panagakis, January 14, 2016

Opened in December 2015, Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center is a game changer in giveback. As home to Erskine Green Training Institute—a vocational organization for people with disabilities—the 150-room, six-story property in Muncie, Indiana, is helping to lower the 82 percent unemployment rate among the United States’ disabled community by providing a setting for them to learn about the hospitality industry firsthand.

Developed in partnership with The Arc of Indiana, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities, the Courtyard is the first hotel of its kind and gives on-the-job training to students going through the program. “One of our missions [is to have] 20 percent of our staff be individuals with disabilities,” says Trina Woolfington, vice president of sales for General Hotels Corporation (which manages the hotel), noting that GHC has hired employees with disabilities for housekeeping, restaurant services and front desk positions.

The training institute is a nonprofit and runs off funds generated by the hotel, so groups staying at the Courtyard contribute to the institute’s financial welfare. The Courtyard is the only hotel in downtown Muncie and is connected via skywalk to the 47,000-sq.-ft. Horizon Convention Center, and also has two on-site meeting rooms for up to 75 people. Nearby activities include game nights and painting classes at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, shows at Muncie Civic Theatre or a night under the stars at Charles W. Brown Planetarium at Ball State University.

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