UNITED WAY grant to PATTERN powers industrial sewing social good enterprise

INDIANAPOLIS – PATTERN has been awarded $50,000 from the United Way of Central Indiana’s Social Innovation Fund in support of StitchWorks, a certified training program and workforce development effort that connects poverty-vulnerable populations, especially those re-entering the community from the criminal justice system, with in-demand jobs in the fashion/textile/apparel industry.

In collaboration with Ivy Tech, and Indiana Fashion Foundation, PATTERN will launch a new training curriculum to fulfill a need for workers in the industrial sewing industry, emphasizing recruitment of poverty-vulnerable individuals, recent immigrants and recent high school graduates. Jobs such as upholsterers, embroidery operators, PPE makers, and more are both creative and technical, most using software and advanced machinery in addition to hand skills.

“With United Way’s support, and other funding PATTERN is pursuing, StitchWorks will build an economic ecosystem for this industry in Indianapolis — benefitting vulnerable citizens in need of good work, small business owners looking for labor and distributors, and companies seeking workers,” said Polina Osherov, PATTERN founder and executive director.

“This initiative is all about matching markets. We know that there is plenty of demand and that we are going to be training people to fill that demand.”
StitchWorks aims to train at least 30 stitchers every year for the next five years, and help create or fill 200 jobs.

According to Develop Indy, the textile industry makes an annual $980 million economic impact in Marion County. With the 2800% increase in the reshoring of US apparel manufacturing, employers locally and nationally are eager for qualified workers to add to their payrolls.

In addition to job placements with local companies who make sportswear, outdoor recreation gear and home goods, StitchWorks itself will hire stitchers and take on small-batch contract work for small business owners and apparel designers — as a new social good enterprise.

“We’re grateful to be supported by United Way of Central Indiana for a program that helps people achieve economic stability while also building an infrastructure for the textile/fashion industry locally, “ said Osherov. PATTERN will partner with the non-profit Project Lia to help place formerly incarcerated women in the StitchWorks training program.

Learn more about StitchWorks at stitchworksindy.com.