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.”