Posted on March 27th, 2019 in Success Story
In the past, job seekers steadily flowed into different career sectors, but trade industries such as construction and manufacturing have recently been overlooked or oversimplified by society – causing a growing need for skilled workers. This caused a labor market gap, prompting the inception of the BY Training program.
BY stemmed from Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation’s (ICRF) youth engagement efforts as they established the Build Your Future program, training volunteers to go into classrooms and share what it is like to work in construction. Overwhelmingly, the takeaway was that students were shocked by their incorrect assumptions and general lack of industry knowledge. This triggered the BY Training idea: a construction program to create in partnership with employers in order to establish and grow a new pool of job ready individuals.
The BY Training program is the epitome of EmployIndy’s ABC continuum. Many of the students are coming from the construction industry and looking for opportunities to grow. This program arms them with the ability to transition from Any Job to a Better Job or from a Better Job to a Career.
In this seven-week program with twelve classroom hours each week, students learn the reason behind different safety tips, get ten hours of onsite training, study the NCCER curriculum for an apprenticeship program, and receive their OSHA 10 – leaving them workforce-ready and competitive applicants upon graduation. What makes this program so unique, is that BY Training prepares their students for more than just construction.
These individuals graduate with the knowledge of different interview tips and the importance of soft skills, arming them to be more successful once they leave the classroom. “Going into this I really didn’t think I’d learn much. I’ve been through several classes and I thought I would get the same information,” said Jeffery Ware Jr., a recent BY Training graduate. “I was wrong – what you get out of this class you can’t learn from experience.”
EmployIndy has played a significant role in connecting BY Training to local employers through facilitating partnerships for host locations within this community. “We wanted to establish the value and demand for this program,” said Tracy Hartman, EmployIndy’s Employer Engagement Manager focused on partnering with employers in the construction, manufacturing, logistics, and engineering industries.
“This industry is seeking motivated and qualified job seekers, so we utilized our connections between employers and community partners to make that possible.”
Tracy Hartman, EmployIndy Employer Engagement Manager
With EmployIndy’s help, ICRF hosted several employer and community-based organization convenings to shape the vision of their program.
Each week, local employers come into the classroom to teach students about their company, providing these individuals opportunities to ask questions and learn about what businesses most value in workers. Upon graduation, BY Training hosts a hiring day, providing opportunities for the students and employers to engage one-on-one. What truly shows the impact of this program is the fact that all 20 graduates received at least one job offer by the end of the course.
“Employers trust our program,” said Katie Cordell, BY Training Program Director. “It is known for not only arming them with the necessary certifications, but we shape people to be job ready – we really want every graduate to leave learning so much more than the basics of construction.”
With this passion and momentum of programmatic success, the ICRF has plans to expand BY Training statewide by the end of the year. Cordell highlights the importance of starting by choosing communities that make the most sense, meaning:
- A supply of individuals who are looking for a career, not just a job
- Identifying employer partners who are willing to invest in these participants
- Discovering an adult basic education and community partner to assist in education growth
- A large amount of jobs that are available in the area
- Making sure there is sufficient access to public transportation if necessary
“I cannot say enough about this class. I want to thank all the staff, the talks we have had and them being great people in general. There are a lot of people who I know really want me to succeed,” said Anthony Merritt Jr., another recent BY Training graduate.
Learning the soft skills and receiving the required certifications, all of the graduates have the necessary tools to excel in their career path. The next course is scheduled to start at MSD Washington Township on April 16, and classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Interested students can apply online, and interested business partners can contact Tracy Hartman of EmployIndy.
The program, developed in collaboration with Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indy Chamber, prepares young adults for work with the competencies that businesses need
Parents of Indy teens may still be looking for productive ways to fill their children’s time over spring break. For young people anticipating a summer job, boosting their resumes by earning Job Ready Indy (JRI) badges over the next two weeks is a great way to prepare for future employment.
Job Ready Indy is housed at EmployIndy and was developed through collaboration with the Indy Chamber and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office to provide young people a way to boost their employability skills for local jobs. With 855 participants already badged, EmployIndy is eager to see more earned in the six competencies offered: mindsets, self-management, learning strategies, social skills, workplace skills, and launch a career. Thirty-three organizations are currently approved to provide the curriculum, offering access to residents throughout Marion County.
“Employers continue to tell us ‘soft-skills’ are increasingly hard to find. The Indy Chamber worked closely with EmployIndy to develop a practical curriculum, engaging our members to identify critical workplace competencies and ensure that ‘Job Ready Indy’ lives up to the name,” said Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. “We are very encouraged by the work being done by EmployIndy and partners to continue to grow the program and provide top level talent for our future workforce needs.”
Over spring break, free courses to receive four of the JRI badges will be offered at the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) on the near northwestside on March 26 and 27, and the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the far eastside April 1 through 5.
Signing up for a course at jobreadyindy.org provides participants with valuable experience and credentials – something important for young job seekers who may otherwise lack a robust resume. Badges earned through JRI are automatically displayed on a participant’s Project Indy profile, visible to employers who are using Mayor Hogsett’s youth jobs platform to fill openings for summer work.
“Local employers are starting to take notice,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “Prioritizing interviews or consideration for badged applicants does more than just say ‘we value your effort’ – it gives businesses a greater return on investment because of the researched, practical soft skills that these workers will bring to their jobs on day one.”
It is an immediate win-win for both the employees and the businesses that hires them, but the program is meant to strategically go beyond the short-term benefits and impact the future overall talent of Indy’s workforce.
“When young people focus their energy on learning skills to become valued workers, they accomplish a number of significant things: they provide needed talent for our local economy; earn, and learn the importance of working for, a paycheck; and set themselves up to refine those skills and achieve in-demand careers with higher earning potential in adulthood,” said Mayor Joe Hosgett.
Marion County residents who are interested in signing up or learning more should visit jobreadyindy.org and click “Spring Break JRI Sessions” for spring break courses, or click on the “Participants” tab to connect to other JRI organizations who regularly offer courses.
Spring is upon us, and as summer gets closer, young adults are starting to think about summer jobs and other opportunities for growth. On March 11, Congressman André Carson hosted his sixth annual Youth Opportunities Fair at the Central Library to help Indianapolis youth find these job, learning, and volunteer opportunities, with over 75 organizations attending. Young adults also participated in sessions designed to help them with interviewing skills and resume review.
Amanda Finch from the YMCA explained how volunteering can help youth get their “foot in the door.” Skills learned at a volunteering position or job with the YMCA can transfer into real life situations. “One of our most popular positions is lifeguarding. We teach them so many valuable life skills and safety skills that can branch out beyond what they do in their role at the Y – they could save somebody’s life.”
Many jobs, including those at YMCA, Indy Parks, FedEx, Kroger, and more, are filled by connections made through Project Indy, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s youth jobs program. EmployIndy staff were on-site helping young adults sign up and download the Project Indy app to get them started.
Representatives from Indy Parks and Kroger emphasized the variety of opportunities available to youth as they work their way up from entry-level positions. “A lot of the people in our positions started as 16 year old lifeguards and cashiers and worked their way up, so getting a job at Indy Parks could be a career move,” said Will Hollowell from Rhodius Park. “The best skill I’ve found is just people who want to work. Being excited about work is a key attribute that many teens possess.”
Matt Mueller landed his first job bagging groceries at Kroger twenty-four years ago, and has found various opportunities to continue his career there since. “People think that sometimes working for Kroger is just bagging groceries or stocking milk or whatever it may be, but it’s so much more than that. You can work in Human Resources and Marketing and Transportation and Logistics – any career you could ever want, you could do that under the Kroger umbrella – starting from the single utility clerk job bagging groceries,” he explained.
As hundreds of young adults browsed the aisles, most were able to walk away with a lead or an idea of where to aim next. Not everyone will find their dream summer job – but exposure to these opportunities available is important as they continue to learn and think about a future job, education, or career.
Andre Allen from FedEx Ground offered a bit of succinct advice: “Stay persistent – we’re always looking for new talent.”