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Wheeler Machinery Co. Partners with CHOICE Humanitarian to Build Vocational Center in Ecuador

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — A group of Wheeler Machinery Co. employees recently journeyed to Ecuador to serve the people of the Intag region located in the mist-shrouded Andean mountains. During the week-long expedition, the Wheeler team worked alongside villagers on the construction of a vocational center, Inta Kara. A multi-year project with three buildings planned, Wheeler’s funds and labor help accelerate Inta Kara’s construction. Concrete was mixed, transported and poured to form columns and floors, and drainage systems were buried and soil leveled.

84 percent of Intag’s population lives at or below the poverty line, and 25 percent survive on less than $1.90 a day. Only 5 percent of youth have access to higher education, and poor graduation rates, high illiteracy and a struggling economy cause many young people to flee their rural communities for urban slums. These factors led CHOICE, its in-country Ecuador team and local community leaders to formulate the concept of establishing a vocational center. Corporate partnerships such as the one between CHOICE and Wheeler will take Inta Kara from conception to completion by providing funding and the intermittent infusion of labor during its years-long creation.

Once complete, the vocational training center will serve over 1,500 families and provide youth and underemployed adults the opportunity to live, study and gain a nationally recognized certification in masonry, welding, carpentry, cooking, tourism and more. The first of its kind in the area, the center will bring customized training solutions to these rural communities and create economic opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. Additionally, the center will serve as a hub for agricultural production and training to address food insecurity in Intag where 60 percent of the people suffer from malnutrition.

Dennys Flores, a 20-year-old whose family processes sugarcane in Pucara, a village in the Intag region, said, “I am a young dreamer with life goals like lots of others in the zone of Intag. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the help you have offered for the construction of the Inta Kara Center. This is a worthwhile project that will benefit many people and will allow them to continue studying and have a profession that will benefit society.”

Two of Wheeler’s Guiding Principles are stewardship and service, and the company offers employees the opportunity to contribute their time and money to honor these principles by putting them into action. Employees are encouraged to participate in payroll contributions that Wheeler matches 2 to 1, and paid time off is available for employees wishing to perform hands-on volunteer work. In addition to CHOICE Humanitarian, Wheeler works with several other charitable organizations including Junior Achievement and Utah Food Bank.

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