Posted on July 2nd, 2020 in Success Story
As the world has shifted to a virtual atmosphere these past few months, many organizations have transformed their funding and programs to continue serving Indianapolis residents in new and unique ways.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is no exception. Goodwill is one of EmployIndy’s YES Indy providers, serving Marion County opportunity youth looking to overcome barriers to success. Over the past few months, the Goodwill IGNITE grant, the Google Digital Career Accelerator (GDCA) grant, and Senior Community Service Employment Program have supported three Nurse Family Partnership participants and one Excel Center graduate as they worked to achieve their education goals.
These four deserving students, Arzoo “Zoey” Bakhtiary, Adriana Marin, Jessica Spencer, and LeighAnn McGregor, had their tuition covered by the GDCA grant so they could enroll in the Vincennes University Certified Clinical Medical Assisting training program, hosted at Wayne Township Adult Education Center.
As COVID-19 hit Indiana in mid-March, the CCMA program was forced to go completely virtual. This transition is difficult for any students but feels near-impossible for those who are without a laptop and resources to purchase their own – and Jessica and Adriana fell into this category.
When the Goodwill family learned of this barrier, they immediately began brainstorming ways to remove obstacles hindering these two young women from pursuing their education with the hopes of moving into middle-skill work. The answer was loaning out two laptops from Goodwill’s Senior Community Service Employment Program so they could continue their studies.
Goodwill continued to provide these two young ladies with resources and other supports beyond providing laptops, such as bill payment assistance, food, and professional attire through the IGNITE grant.
Despite in-person training coming to a halt, dealing with barriers to success, and needing to transfer everything online, Zoey, Adriana, Jessica, and LeighAnn each have successfully completed the CCMA course and passed the National Healthcare Association exam on June 11, 2020.
Goodwill is one of many organizations who altered their funds and programs as they utilized their resources to fill resident’s newly established barriers to education and employment. Congratulations to the students in their achievement and thank you to Goodwill staff and ecosystem partners that played a part in helping these students achieve their goals!
Thank you to the Goodwill team for sharing your story so that we may also celebrate in your successes.
Posted on May 26th, 2020 in Organizational Updates
As our world is in a constant state of change, EmployIndy has made an active effort to continue to serve Indianapolis residents in a virtual environment. Like many organizations, we experienced the harsh realization that our programs were not set up to be held in a digital setting. When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced the precautions in early March, our team immediately began brainstorming how we can support the newly dislocated workers and program participants.
How? We are going digital.
By partnering with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Canvas, EmployIndy has been able to send a text message to Indianapolis residents who have registered through Indiana Career Connect since March 1, 2020 – totaling over 50,000 contacts to date. These individuals receive a text with a link to the virtual resources compiled on workoneindy.com/covid-19/ with the follow-up option to register for TORQ (a resource that translates how current skills would transfer into a different job).
Since launching the workoneindy.com/covid-19/ webpage on March 17, there have been over 8000 visitors to that page alone and an average time on that page of two minutes and fifty seconds. In that same timeframe, the WorkOne Indy site as a whole has had nearly 24,000 page-views. To continue supplying resources during COVID-19, our team has built out this robust webpage and enhanced the rest of the WorkOne Indy site to increase ease and provide better usability.
YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS
While we are focusing on today, it is important to remember that our students have a tomorrow and that their studies will continue beyond this school year. The Indy Achieves initiative has launched 21st Century Scholar deadline promotion – completely virtually. Aside from targeted social media posts, Marion County residents are able to text “college” or “universidad” to 404-58 to receive either the English or Spanish version of the 21st Century Scholars digital application. This application must be submitted by June 30 following a student’s eighth grade year, providing youth with the opportunity to attend select Indiana universities for up to four years of free college tuition.
EmployIndy also serves students who are focused on the ‘now’ and who had plans for their summer employment – most of which is now up in the air. In order to provide support, the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program hosted a virtual job fair for all Indianapolis JAG students on May 7. There were 24 employers who participated in the fair.
The opportunity youth population is difficult to connect with when we are able to be out in the community – let alone when we are in quarantine. With the temporary closing of our YES Indy Re-Engagement Centers, EmployIndy is pivoting from utilizing basketball as the ‘hook’ for engaging youth and young adults to hosting an “Elite Gaming LIVE” event where YES Indy REC participants will be invited to play the video game and interact with leaders and mentors, which took place on May 20. To further improve this engagement opportunity, YES Indy is creating a private Facebook Group for the Power Huddle graduates to ask questions, share ideas, and chat with their instructor.
While we still have a long way to go when it comes to supporting Indianapolis residents, our team is working diligently to come up with creative ways to provide virtual services and continue engagement. We are excited to continue partnering with organizations throughout the city as we share valuable resources.
With the approaching June 30 deadline, the initiative pivots to continue supporting Marion County students virtually
INDIANAPOLIS – APRIL 17, 2020 – Indy Achieves recruitment for the 21st Century Scholars program will occur exclusively online now that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year in adherence with Governor Eric Holcomb and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s COVID-19 executive orders.
The 21st Century Scholars program is an early college promise program administered by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE). It offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after high school graduation and completion of Scholar program requirements. Students must enroll in the program by the June 30 application deadline following the students’ 8th grade year.
Indy Achieves recruitment strategy has included school visits with the help of school counselors and the use of traditional paper applications. Now that schools will remain closed through the remainder of the application period, Indy Achieves will promote a digital application, creating easy, online and mobile-friendly access for families. This innovative approach has been made possible by the School and Community Partnership Grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Families can visit www.indyachieves.org/21cs or simply text “college” or “universidad” to 404-58 to begin filing the application in English or Spanish.
“For many individuals, the economic impact of COVID-19 will last beyond the June 30 21st Century Scholars application deadline. While we are all focusing on the here and now, it is important to make sure we are still looking to the future,” said Matt Impink, EmployIndy’s executive director of Indy Achieves. “This is why we are asking our partners, stakeholders, and fellow community members to continue promoting this opportunity to springboard many of our students to success in college by covering their tuition and providing wrap around supports.”
Indy Achieves is asking the community to act as messengers and share this opportunity widely across their networks by following Indy Achieves on Facebook and Twitter @indyachieves and sharing content using the hashtag #21stCenturyScholars.