Recent News & Blog

Data warehouse to be built to monitor student success and expand general knowledge of population being served

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – 6 August 2019 – The Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) affiliate, has awarded Indy Achieves $40,000 to invest towards building a data warehouse. With these resources, Indy Achieves, an initiative launched by Mayor Joe Hogsett and administered by EmployIndy, will build a data tracking tool to identify Marion County residents who are at risk of educational remediation and/or uninformed about available financial postsecondary opportunities.

“We support this project’s initiative to get students in the pipeline early, and keep them in the pipeline,” said Andrew Black, director of community leadership for CICF. “Because of this data, we can help more students graduate on time and access programs, like 21st Century Scholars, that make obtaining postsecondary credentials possible.” 

Set to be launched this fall, this secure data-tracking warehouse will be utilized exclusively by EmployIndy, the organization that houses the Indy Achieves initiative, and can break down pre-existing barriers by receiving, combining and exporting specific data, such as identifying individuals who qualify for 21st Century Scholars. With this information, Indy Achieves is able to connect with qualifying families, provide programmatic clarity, and sign them up for applicable opportunities.

“We understand that outreach must begin early, with students and families in K-12, to ensure critical growth of Marion County’s workforce and the future success of our young people,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This data will make it possible to focus on youth who can benefit from Indy Achieves in order to pave the way to the postsecondary credentials needed in the 21st century economy.”

EmployIndy will also be able to utilize the data to inform when and how to intervene with students. By establishing the necessary infrastructure to safely secure and maintain the data gathered in the local, state and national level, Indy Achieves can act quickly before students fall through the cracks and are at risk of completion. This system makes it possible to proactively identify issues with students so that schools and community partners can intervene in real time. Indy Achieves will seek out schools to pilot early warning intervention systems to address common attributes of students who get off track at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. Triggering early intervention will plug the leaky pipeline into postsecondary education and the workforce.

“The data warehouse enhances our ability to serve Marion County residents by not only identifying at-risk individuals, but providing a method for us to reach them before they fall too far,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “This early warning will allow for individualized intervention and will undoubtedly improve retention rates in the K-12 space as well as at the postsecondary level.”

Utilizing this intervention strategy aligns with other EmployIndy initiatives to improve skills attainment and create positive outcomes for young people. By quickly investing in a population that trickles out of the education system, it is possible to increase on-time postsecondary completion rates, first semester retention, and track those who have been involved in work experiences, such as internships. This will shrink the skills gap and ultimately build up the workforce in Indianapolis.

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About Indy Achieves
Indy Achieves is a program created by Mayor Joe Hogsett that aims to ensure that every Indianapolis resident has the ability to pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree program. To accomplish this, Indy Achieves seeks to increase the number of individuals who apply for existing financial aid programs such as 21st Century Scholars and FAFSA as well as provide Indy Achieves Promise Scholarships and wraparound support services for Marion County students who attend Ivy Tech Indianapolis and IUPUI. Learn more about the Indy Achieves initiative at indyachieves.org.

About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 21 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. Learn more about EmployIndy at employindy.org.

About Indiana 21st Century Scholars
The 21st Century Scholars program was established in 1990 to increase students’ aspirations for and access to higher education. The program provides income-eligible students the opportunity to earn a scholarship that covers up to four years of tuition and regularly assessed fees. 21st Century Scholars supports eligible students and parents with the tools they need to prepare for college, graduate on time and begin a successful career. The scholarship is awarded on an annual basis. Learn more at www.scholars.in.gov.

About Indianapolis Foundation
The Indianapolis Foundation was founded in 1916 and is an affiliate of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). As Indiana’s oldest and largest community foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation is governed by a board of six publicly-appointed directors and awards approximately $7 million annually focused on creating neighborhoods and environments that empower people, changing systems that unfairly hold people back, and dismantling systemic racism. The mobilizes people, ideas and investments to ensure that the quality of life in Marion County continuously improves; to help where the needs are greatest and the benefits to the community are most extensive; and to provide donors a vehicle for using their gifts in the best possible way now, and in the future.


Posted on August 1st, 2019 in Press Releases Tags: ,

EmployIndy is formally launching its YES Indy Re-Engagement Center (REC), expanding to two additional locations at Eastern Star Church and Mount Carmel Church after soft-launching a pilot site over a year ago with the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the Far Eastside. The RECs are designed as an outreach tactic to attract “opportunity youth” – residents ages 16-24 who have disconnected from education and/or employment – using open gym basketball to bring them to a space where career services can be offered.

open gym basketballThe concept came from the mind of Rev. Rodney Francis, senior director of opportunity youth at EmployIndy, and aligns with the organization’s strategic plan to provide positive opportunities for young adults, particularly in impoverished, high-crime neighborhoods. The first REC has been quietly operating at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club, utilizing their facility during school hours when it would traditionally be closed.

“Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis believes every young person deserves to live a life filled with hope and opportunity,” said Maggie A. Lewis, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. “Providing our youth on the Far Eastside with more than just basketball, but a safe place to spend time and engage with those who can help them seek educational and employment opportunities is critical to inspiring and empowering them toward success.”

Since the soft launch last May, over 1,200 individuals have come through the doors to play basketball, many of whom would meet the criteria to receive YES Indy services. Once engaged, young adults have opportunities to engage with REFs (re-engagement facilitators) and start creating a life change by attending the “Power Huddle,” a mind-setting course offered at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club to participants who want to take that first step. 

During the Power Huddle, participants reframe their view of their own future and are introduced to opportunities available through YES Indy, such as achieving their high school equivalency, working with a career coach, enrolling in training, and receiving barrier busting support, such as assistance with rent, transportation, or childcare.

“Reconnecting disconnected young adults with education and employment opportunities is an important element of our strategy for inclusive growth,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.  “When young people in all of our city’s neighborhoods have access to postsecondary education and good paying jobs, we see greater social and economic equality, as well as successes in crime reduction and an increase in the overall sense of security for youth and their families across Indianapolis.”

Key to making the concept work is developing partnerships for hosting participants and working with one of the eleven Indianapolis-area YES Indy providers to offer career services. EmployIndy also negotiated relationships with adult education providers and local businesses for referrals. The collaborative efforts aim to have lasting impact on the crime, poverty, and economic mobility in the neighborhoods where RECs are located.

In order to continue these efforts, EmployIndy has braided funds from grantors such as Lilly Endowment, Starbucks Foundation, the City of Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety and most recently, Community Leadership Innovation Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

“We cannot ignore the barriers confronting these individuals,” said Milt Thompson, advisor to the Community Leadership Innovation Fund at Central Indiana Community Foundation. “These youth are at a critical moment in their lives and need our community’s support more than ever.”

Jervell Jackson has been a regular during the open gym basketball, and YES Indy has opened doors that may never have seemed possible. His career navigator at CAFE, a YES Indy service provider, helped pay for books to prepare for his CDL exam, and connected him to classes to become a certified basketball referee. The staff at the various organizations who partner to bring YES Indy to life are excited when they see positive outcomes and hope to see more as the two new RECs continue to grow.

“I took the information I learned and put it to use,” said Jackson. “Not only have I become a better man, I learned how crucial it is to find what you want your career in life to be and to not settle for anything less.”

Connect to a YES Indy service provider at yesindy317.org.


Indy Achieves lands grant to support students at Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUI

Indianapolis – July 10, 2019 – In the fall of 2018, Indy Achieves was awarded a $100,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to support the hiring of two Student Success Coaches, one who would be based at Ivy Tech Community College and another at IUPUI. These coaches will work closely with the students at each location in order to provide them with additional academic resources and tools to ensure a meaningful postsecondary experience and completion. 

Indy Achieves will be utilizing this funding to mirror best practices of Lumina’s adult promise work to improve education levels beyond high school and guiding career pathways for individual success. With the constant struggle of retention and on-time completion, schools are looking for new ways to improve the number of graduates while also giving them the skills to succeed after graduation as they enter the workforce. 

“We’re pleased to support Indy Achieves’ efforts to guide students to success beyond high school as a key effort in increasing our nation’s attainment rate,” said Tim Robinson, assistant vice president of operations and grants administration at Lumina. “We hope that lessons learned here and from other Lumina-supported efforts for mentoring will provide a model for others across the country.”

The two Student Success Coaches, Alina Zayas (embedded at IUPUI) and Caitlin Diehl (embedded at Ivy Tech), will be joining teams providing academic and career support at each campus as they oversee 200 Indy Achieves Promise Scholarship recipients. The Promise Scholarship provides additional needs-based funding in order to remove financial barriers to retention and graduation. 

“The career connections that Indy Achieves and EmployIndy bring to the table are game-changers for our students and reinforce IUPUI’s position as Indiana’s premier urban public university,” said Amy Conrad Warner, IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement. “We are committed to providing educational opportunities that transform the lives of our students, our community, and the changing world around us.”

In addition to providing financial assistance, the Student Success Coaches will be assisting students by navigating campus systems, identifying internal and external resources, and exploring career pathways. This will provide much needed support to those in the cohort to grow their skill sets, obtain a postsecondary credential, and prepare them for the workforce. 

“Retention and on-time completion are top priorities at Ivy Tech Community College,” said Kathy Lee, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis. “Adding the student success coaches will help take our support to the next level so our students are set up for great careers to meet the demands of our employer partners.”

EmployIndy, the organization that houses Indy Achieves, will support programmatic growth by introducing students to different work-based learning opportunities, thus establishing and furthering employer connections. Indy Achieves aims to not only assist students in earning their credential on time, but to arm them with the skills needed to make them more marketable to employers post-graduation.

“EmployIndy and Indy Achieves are doing more than encouraging students to graduate,” said Yecenia Tostado, Associate Director of Indy Achieves. “We are providing them the skills and connections to excel far beyond graduation. These individual experiences will have a direct impact on the Indianapolis community at large as each student discovers where the needs of employers and their talents overlap – ultimately leading to personal and professional success.”

By providing academic supports such as playing the role as advisor and assisting with co-requisite remediation, the Student Success Coaches are working to remove barriers and more as they establish pathways for individual success, falling in line with EmployIndy’s strategic goal of creating positive trajectories for young adults to achieve and maintain promising careers.

Learn more about Indy Achieves at indyachieves.org.

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About Indy Achieves
Indy Achieves is an initiative created by Mayor Joe Hogsett that aims to ensure that every Indianapolis resident has the ability to pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree program. To accomplish this, Indy Achieves seeks to increase the number of individuals who apply for existing financial aid programs such as 21st Century Scholars and FAFSA as well as provide Indy Achieves Promise Scholarships and wraparound support services for Marion County students who attend Ivy Tech Indianapolis and IUPUI. Learn more about the Indy Achieves initiative at indyachieves.org.

About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 21 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. Learn more about EmployIndy at employindy.org.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.