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19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity highlights inclusion and equity, challenging employer partners

Posted on September 16th, 2020 in Events, Press Releases

Local and national diversity advocates challenge, recognize and inspire employers to exemplify diversity in their community, in their workplace

16 September 2020 – Indianapolis – Today was the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity. Pivoting due to the need for social distancing, this event took place virtually with nearly 300 people in attendance. This year’s event focused on the value of a diverse workforce, recognizing high-achieving local employers, and the importance of supporting Indianapolis youth through Project Indy.

“It is critical we take time to celebrate our community’s commitment to diversity,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, amidst national civil rights demonstrations and a pandemic that exacerbates existing inequalities, our cause has been given added urgency. Today, we commend the businesses and non-profits who are already leading the way toward a diverse and prosperous Indianapolis.”

With the support of the title sponsor, Genesys, and many others, the event hosted well-known local and national advocates. Emcee’d by FOX59’s Fanchon Stinger and Dan Spheler, attendees learned about the value and impact of workforce diversity and inclusion from keynote speaker, Janet Stovall; Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis; Tamika Catchings, owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy; Dr. Sean L. Huddleston, president of Marin University; Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy; Michael Huber, president & CEO of the Indy Chamber; Derris Ross, founder of the Ross Foundation; and Angela Smith Jones, vice president of diversity and inclusion for Health and Hospital Corp and former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development for the City of Indianapolis.

“As we look at building an inclusive Indianapolis, I want to encourage everyone to support small diverse businesses and encourage entrepreneurship for those reentering the workforce,” said Camille Blunt, Office of Minority and Women Business Development. “We all need to do our part to encourage equity and support of underutilized businesses.”

This event is a time to recognize employers who have made exceptional efforts to demonstrate inclusivity, diversity, and equity in their workplace through their leadership, workforce, community involvement and strategic planning. The awards are as follows:

  • “Sam H. Jones ‘Best of the Best’” was awarded to Peace Learning Center for their workforce diversity of all backgrounds and ages, and their recent adoption of new programs, systems and procedures to create a more welcoming and inclusive culture – which lead to a change in mission, vision and company values
  • “Diversity in Leadership” was awarded to Citizens Energy Group for the organization’s core leadership curriculum and support of a diverse organizational culture, providing quarterly updates to the Board regarding progress to their Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
  • “Diversity in Workforce” was awarded to the Morales Group who has implemented diversity best practices through their Project Azul career development and education program, supporting diversity through their programs and place of business
  • “Excellence in Youth Employment” was awarded to US Hydrovac Inc. for providing youth with the opportunity for a first job in a culture that promotes personal growth through mentoring and advancement as they describe avenues for successful careers in the trades industries

Due to the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Marion County causing establishments to experience temporary and permanent closures, there is a high number of individuals 16-24 who are now facing unemployment.

All proceeds from the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity go towards funding and supporting Mayor Hogsett’s Project Indy youth jobs program. This program introduces young people to what is often their first job, teaching them the importance of soft skills such as time management, teamwork, workplace etiquette, and more.

“Through Project Indy, nearly 15,000 young people have had access to local job opportunities over the past four years,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, EmployIndy. “These young people are the future of Indianapolis – the future of our workplaces and our neighborhoods. Creating diverse pathways for youth employment provides employers with the long-term talent needed in the workplace and individuals with the employability skills necessary to be successful in the future.”

In order to continue supporting the Project Indy program, please text MCOD2020 to 243-725 or go to employindy.org/donate. More information about Project Indy can be found at projectindy.net