Recent News & Blog

Posted on February 7th, 2019 in Events Tags: ,

Today 136 Marion County high school juniors and seniors met at the Indianapolis Marriott East for the regional JAG Career Development Conference – including competitions around employability, skill development, and career goals. All students are part of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, better known as JAG, which has a presence in fourteen high schools throughout the county.

View the full photo album on EmployIndy’s Facebook Page

The morning kicked off with former Colts player Marlin Jackson, speaking to to the audience of students, JAG specialists, and volunteer judges from local businesses. “In life, in every aspect, you will need a growth mindset – especially in the workplace. When you get criticism, can you take it or do you get defensive? When you take that constructive criticism and utilize it, you grow. That’s why it’s called a growth mindset.”

EmployIndy would like to extend a big “thank you” to our sponsors for their support of this event! Our sponsors for the 2019 CDC included gold level sponsors: Bank of America and Fight for Life Foundation; silver level sponsors: St. Vincent/Ascension and Duke Realty; and bronze level sponsors: PNC Bank and Lift Academy. Sponsors had representatives attend the event to serve as judges for competitions, as well as to network with students during lunch. Here is what they had to say:

“I think what was most striking was the confidence that these students displayed during their Critical Thinking presentations. Students that have been part of programs like JAG will stand out when they come interview for positions, because they will have gone through scenarios where they had to think on the spot and provide some depth of thought around critical questions.”

– Andrew Crask, Indianapolis Market President, Bank of America

“It is very important to get students interested in healthcare and show them the various career possibilities in the industry outside of becoming a nurse or doctor. As a judge in the Career Presentation competition, I noticed that the students’ level of professionalism was impressive. It’s very important to be able to walk up and shake someone’s hand with eye contact.”

– Karen Jenne, Ascension/St. Vincent

“Our new flight academy is trying to help diversify the aviation profession. Having worked with EmployIndy and knowing what the JAG program is about, we thought tabling at the JAG CDC would be a perfect opportunity to show students a career pathway that they weren’t aware of and give them an opportunity to learn more about it. While judging the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, I was impressed by the students’ professionalism and confidence.”

– Martin Kirkwood, Lift Academy

Another exciting part of the day was Kenzie Academy’s announcement that they are offering up to $300,000 in scholarships for JAG students across Indiana. Reps from Kenzie were on site sharing details for interested students to learn more about their accelerated, project-based learning in the in-demand technology field.

Employers interested in learning more about how they can engage with the future workforce can connect with our Business Solutions team or make a tax-deductible donation like these sponsors did.


Posted on February 4th, 2019 in Press Releases Tags:

Officials provide new tools to help boost enrollment at other Marion County schools based on Northwest’s success

February 4, 2019 – INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indy Achieves honored Northwest Middle School for successfully enrolling 100 percent of its eligible students in 21st Century Scholars – a feat no other school in Marion County accomplished in 2017. Indy Achieves awarded Principal Phil Shults and counselors with a trophy as Marion County Champion for top enrollment numbers on the first day of National School Counseling Week. Northwest Middle School’s success is at the core of a new online enrollment toolkit and additional staff support available from Mayor Hogsett and Indy Achieves to all Marion County schools. These resources are designed to help increase the number of applicants taking advantage of financial aid offered by 21st Century Scholars.

Currently Indiana’s most generous early commitment college promise program, 21st Century Scholars is an underutilized financial aid resource in Marion County with just 51 percent of eligible students enrolling to receive aid. Indy Achieves, housed at EmployIndy, is Mayor Joe Hogsett’s comprehensive education program established to make postsecondary degrees and credentials available to every Indianapolis resident. Key to reaching that mission is increasing efforts to help Marion County middle schools boost applications in 21st Century Scholars.

“As we continue to see the skills gap in Indianapolis increase at an alarming rate, we must remain committed to working harder, smarter, and more efficiently to ensure every student has access to the resources necessary to attain a postsecondary education, including financial aid,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our schools are vital to students and their families, which is why we not only find it important to celebrate successes like Northwest Middle School, but to learn from them. Their success can help us, and others, think creatively and strategically about how we can enroll more students in 21st Century Scholars.”

Household size and income are used to determine eligibility for 21st Century ScholarsFamilies must enroll before June 30 following the student’s eighth grade year, and students must graduate high school with at least a 2.5 GPA. The 21st Century Scholars program will award students up to approximately $10,000 annually for postsecondary education, which reflects the maximum tuition and fees for Indiana’s public colleges.

“The 21st Century Scholars program represents a significant ongoing commitment to ensure that every Hoosier student has access to the opportunities a college degree provides if they work hard in school,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We know that the efforts of school counselors and teachers are essential in spreading the word about our state financial aid programs and we are encouraged by the results of Northwest Middle School.”

“The innovative approach used by our school counselors at Northwest Middle School to ensure every student was contacted and every parent called, that home visits were made and incentives were awarded in order to achieve 100 percent enrollment in 21st Century Scholars, is truly to be commended,” said IPS Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “I applaud the efforts of the student services department and the entire school staff for making the dream of college a reality for all students regardless of individual barriers. I hope our best practices can be helpful to other schools.”

Through this effort, Indy Achieves is working to marshal additional resources, helping to provide school counselors with best practices for encouraging enrollment in their own schools. The Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit includes steps for tracking eligible students, templates and resources, online links to valuable documents and Indy Achieves contact information. The information in the toolkit was gleaned from Marion County’s top schools enrolling 21st Century Scholars, including Northwest Middle School, and is designed to universally share tactics that have provided the best outcome for enrollment.

In addition to the Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, Marion County schools can receive staff support so that counselors can focus on outreach and lean on Indy Achieves to administer the data input.

For more information about Indy Achieves or the 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, visit www.indyachieves.org.


Initiative successfully employed more than 6000 young adults in its first three years and continues furthering employer partnerships in 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – January 30, 2019 – Today at the Indianapolis Zoo, Mayor Joe Hogsett and EmployIndy announced this year’s kick off of Project Indy, the administration’s youth jobs program. Since its initial launch in 2016 by Mayor Hogsett, EmployIndy, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and Marion County Commission on Youth, Project Indy has positively impacted thousands of young adults in Marion County by engaging them in the workforce. In 2019, Project Indy will continue to make a difference in the lives of Indianapolis residents by providing work experiences and career exploration opportunities for young adults.

Last year, Mayor Hogsett encouraged local employers to take an active role in offering opportunities to young workers. After reaching annual goals of 1000 jobs obtained in 2016 and 2000 jobs obtained in 2017, a goal of 3000 jobs was exceeded in 2018. The soft skills and work experience learned from these jobs will provide the local economy with a better-prepared workforce of the future.

“Project Indy has grown its reach every year since its inception in 2016 – providing employment opportunities and valuable soft skills for thousands of young residents in Marion County each year,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.  “In 2019, we hope to build upon that momentum, engaging even more young adults through our Summer Jobs Sundays, youth job fairs and Job Ready Indy program.  The valuable skills these future adults learn today will mean a more educated, well-trained and successful workforce for the 21st century.”

Project Indy is available on the mobile app Project Indy Jobs, created by local tech company WorkHere, to help geographically connect users to job opportunities near their location. The Indianapolis Zoo is one of nearly 140 employers who are using Project Indy to make a difference in the life of a young adult. Ashley Lawson, a Jobs for America’s Graduates student from Decatur Central High School, worked at the Indianapolis Zoo during the summer of 2018. While at the Zoo, Ashley improved her communication skills as she interacted daily with guests and has since decided that she wants to major in Education and Zoology when she attends Ball State this fall.

“Ashley is the perfect example of how a summer job can help shape a young adult’s future,” said Judy Palermo, senior manager of public relations at the Indianapolis Zoo. “By engaging with local talent, businesses and attractions like the Zoo are able to positively impact the workforce in Indianapolis and make it possible for young adults to envision the next step in their career.”

Guiding young adults as they take the first step in their career path by gaining valuable work experience is the backbone of Project Indy. It is well-known that oftentimes individuals need to develop soft skills prior to employment, such as learning the importance of professionalism, communication skills, reliability, timeliness, work ethic, and appropriate mindsets at work.

In order to improve those skills, Mayor Hogsett worked with EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber to launch Job Ready Indy in 2018. Job Ready Indy is an employability skills program focused on providing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. If an individual has completed one of the courses, a badge of completion will appear on their Project Indy profile – notifying an interested employer that they are deemed by EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber as someone who demonstrates “job ready” skills important in the workplace.

However, young adults cannot take the first steps to improve their career or community without the help of local employers.

“Young people need to have the support of our business partners to best identify their interests and talents to fill the skills gaps in our target industries,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “By hiring young adults, employers have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our community.”

One of the largest and often overlooked benefits to businesses is that connecting with young adults directly influences the choices they make when continuing their education or career path. Employment through Project Indy is one of many ways that employers can engage with young adults. Through Job Ready Indy and other EmployIndy programs, employers can host site tours, speak about their industry in a classroom or offer job shadowing.

Project Indy is uniquely positioned to connect both the supply and demand of jobs for young adults as employers look to prepare for the summer and beyond.

Employers and job seekers age 16-24 can learn more and sign up at projectindy.net