Blue Jacket, Inc. was created in 2003 as a pilot project of Allen County Community Corrections to address a critical and unmet need: providing training, employment, and vocational direction to ex-inmates returning to Fort Wayne/Allen County through the Allen County Superior Court Reentry Court program.
Blue Jacket, Inc. was incorporated in 2005 as a separate 501c3 nonprofit organization with the mission “To provide adult ex-offenders the tools and opportunities to become productive members of society.” Blue Jacket’s target constituency is adult ex-offenders who possess a felony or misdemeanor on their criminal records.
In 2012, Blue Jacket expanded its mission to be able to serve non-offenders as well. Anyone who is considered "hard-to-employ" would be eligible for Blue Jacket's services.
Blue Jacket, Inc. was created in large part to:
- Fill the gap in local workforce programs and services
- Provide services all to people with criminal records (Career Academy)
- Provide real transitional job opportunities (Opportunity Staffing)
- Eventually self-fund through enterprising efforts
- Offer these services to other jurisdictions (Consulting)
About Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket
Blue Jacket, Inc. is named after Wayapiersenwah, or Chief Blue Jacket; an intelligent, strong entrepreneur and diplomat and one of the greatest Shawnee war chiefs.
He fought on the banks of the Wabash River in 1791 delivering the worst defeat the United States Army ever suffered at the hands of Native Americans. Chief Blue Jacket led the confederated Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, Huron, and Potawatomi nations alongside Chief Little Turtle with their strongest resistance in Downtown Fort Wayne. Later in 1794, he again tried to push the Americans from the same area and was defeated by General Anthony Wayne, ending organized Indian conflict east of the Mississippi River.
The story of Chief Blue Jacket surrounds the legend that he was an abducted white settler named Marmaduke Van Swearingen, then adopted into the Shawnee Nation rising through the ranks to become Chief and was known to be friends with Daniel Boone. Recent DNA testing concluded that the Chief Blue Jacket was not white but actually Shawnee.
There are no known photographs of Chief Blue Jacket, but written descriptions exist. This painting (left) was done by Nancy Lutz.