Recent News & Blog

Posted on November 9th, 2020 in Events, Organizational Updates

EmployIndy, Ascend Indiana, CareerWise Colorado, Zurich North America, and many more are changing the perception of apprenticeships – engaging innovative employers in high-demand industries to prepare young people for the workforce of the future.

Traditionally, apprenticeships are viewed as opportunities exclusively available to adults in the trade industries, such as welding and construction. In the 21st century, that is no longer true. These industries learned early on that this structure was critical to build a trained workforce – something that many employers in other fields wished for. To celebrate these opportunities and the expansion of apprenticeship into high-demand fields, such as IT, healthcare, and business, the United States Department of Labor hosts National Apprenticeship Week.

National Apprenticeship Week brings together business leaders, career seekers, educational institutions, and stakeholders to showcase their programs and apprentices within their community. The participating employers have prepared a highly-skilled workforce to meet their talent needs as they shape individuals to both invest in their industry and fit the mold of their company.

In 2018 and 2019, EmployIndy staff members attended a Best Practices summit in Denver, Colorado, and the CEMETs Institute in Switzerland to learn more about the modern youth apprenticeship model and see how it could be implemented in Indianapolis. This all started because EmployIndy was launching Talent Bound – a work-based learning initiative for high school students. While work-based learning is preparing students for career exploration and engagement, the next step was to create on-the-job opportunities that could ultimately translate into a career.

Recognizing that a traditional four-year education is not always the best option for all students, EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana announced an innovative Modern Apprenticeship program, utilizing the structure that was put in place by the trades industries and making it applicable to other high-growth, high-demand industries. By connecting employers to high school students, they are able to build their current and future talent pipeline while providing young adults with the unique opportunity to build their professional network, graduate high school, get paid a higher wage, and gain an industry-recognized credential and college credits. In partnership with CareerWise Colorado in Elkhart County and Ascend Indiana, EmployIndy is aiming to do at least 100 apprenticeships over the next four years in Indiana.

The Modern Apprenticeship Program creates a structure for employers to be part of the solution and removes barriers so all students can have equal accessibility to careers in high-demand fields, ultimately leading to economic mobility.

The launch of Modern Apprenticeship is just one local career readiness plan:

  • Ascend Indiana is leading a statewide Community of Practice with postsecondary and secondary institutions, government leaders, funders, and stakeholders
  • EmployIndy is leading the New Skills Ready Network to build out career readiness opportunities for all young people alongside Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Governors Workforce Cabinet, Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUI, Ascend Indiana and Indiana Commission for Higher Education

In July 2020, CareerWise Colorado, in partnership with EmployIndy, Ascend Indiana, Horizon Education Alliance, CityBridge Education, and HERE to HERE, was awarded a $5 million grant from the US Department of Labor to assist in expanding the number of registered youth apprenticeships. This happens by working directly with local employers to demystify youth apprenticeships while supporting them along the program lifecycle. These funds are specifically tailored towards creating shared supportive services to build a learning network based on local expertise and diverse economic environments.

Organizations nationwide are recognizing the value of apprenticeship for all industries and we are excited to support our young people and our community by building career readiness strategies and best practices for all residents.


Posted on November 6th, 2020 in Organizational Updates

Since the launch of EmployIndy’s five-year strategic plan in 2017, the organization has more than doubled in size. Since Angela Carr Klitzsch (President & CEO) and Marie Mackintosh (Chief Operating Officer) were appointed as organizational leaders in 2016 by Mayor Joe Hogsett, new programs have launched to fill workforce and equity gaps for Indianapolis youth and young adults. These new programs and initiatives include:

Project Indy
Project Indy, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s youth jobs program, consists of a network of community organizations, employers, and corporate partners who are providing job opportunities, soft-skill development and job-readiness training to in-school and opportunity youth in Marion County.

Indy Achieves
In partnership with the City of Indianapolis, Ivy Tech, IUPUI and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Indy Achieves ensures that every Indianapolis resident has the ability to pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree program while also empowering residents to pursue careers that put them on a pathway to the middle class.

Job Ready Indy
Job Ready Indy, in partnership with the Indy Chamber and the City of Indianapolis, is a workforce development initiative that aims to validate the attainment of job skills by participants through its online ​badging system.

Talent Bound
Talent Bound seeks to provide Marion County students with access to authentic work-based learning experiences, leveraging EmployIndy’s network of engaged businesses to provide activities that increase informed decision making and develop critical skills needed to succeed in the future of work. This includes the recently launched Modern Apprenticeship (MAP), a paid two- to three-year career readiness program, where students will engage with local employers and emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials, and professional experience.

Existing programs within EmployIndy that have also expanded and/or been overhauled to better serve Marion County residents include: YES Indy, Jobs for America’s Graduates and WorkOne Indy. To support existing and growing initiatives like the Rapid Re-Employment Response and  Indianapolis New Skills Ready Network, it was necessary for EmployIndy to embark on re-envisioning its human capital needs. 

Over the past six months, EmployIndy has been creating a thoughtful, complex and innovative organizational redesign. The purpose of this restructuring is to improve internal operations and, as a result, serve a greater number of Indianapolis residents as Marion County’s Workforce Development Board. There are currently 49 individuals on staff full-time with plans to hire over 15 new positions in the coming year.

This image displays EmployIndy's new organizational structure.

Through the guidance of First Person Advisors, EmployIndy’s leadership and staff journeyed through the unique process of re-inventing the company’s structure. Each member of the EmployIndy team participated in providing recommendations for the organizational redesign – from restructuring teams to inventing new positions and organizational workflows. Through participation and input, EmployIndy’s goal was to not just improve holistically, but improve intentionally in the following areas:

Strategy
Create a long-term vision and build excitement.

Work
Understand present and future needs as well as design a workflow to accommodate both.

Structure
Build the right connections to delight customers and partners.

Talent
Match capabilities of current and prospective staff to find the best roles.

Rewards
Motivate, measure and recognize success.

Culture
Current and future intentional shifts in behaviors.

During this process, we also furthered our core values of Empowerment, Integrity, Innovation, Customer Service, Collaboration, Inclusive and Results-driven to become a more equitable, engaging, and accepting organization. We know that in order to serve Marion County job seekers and our ecosystem of workforce partners well, we must keep these core values front and center in our daily work.

As a result of the organizational redesign process, many of our staff made upward or lateral moves within EmployIndy in an effort to make sure that our talent goal was being met. This also resulted in many of our employees receiving new position titles as well. In an effort to be both transparent and to ensure our partnerships throughout the community remain strong, below we’ve included a list of staff members who have been promoted (^), who have a new title and adjusted job description (*) or have been recently hired (+).

Executive Team

Rodney Francis, Chief Programs Officer ^
Tehea Harding, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer ^
Marie Mackintosh, Chief Strategy Officer ^
Chelsea Meldrum, Chief Development & External Affairs Officer ^
Belinda Denning, Senior Executive Assistant ^

Finance & Administrative Team
Carla Montgomery, Associate Director, Grants and Procurement ^
Pamela Bean, Manager, Human Resources ^
Quanece Carter, Grants and Contracts Manager ^
Jefferson Raber, Grants and Contracts Manager ^
Natasha Pepper, Business Analyst *

Development & External Affairs Team
Kevin Duffy, Senior Director, Ecosystem Advancement ^
Ashley Downey, Associate Director, Learning and Tech Assistance ^
Robin Kildall, Associate Director, Development ^
Dawn Newerth, Associate Director, Performance Improvement ^
Kate Ryan, Associate Director, Strategic Communications ^
Connor Tomasko, Learning Management Systems Manager*

Strategy Team
Betsy Revell, Vice President, Talent Solutions ^
Mechelle Polter, Director, Talent Bound ^
Cait Potter, Director, Strategic Initiatives ^
Jennifer Walde, Director, Talent Network ^
Tracy Hartman, Business Partnerships Development Manager*
Charlie Harris, Talent Bound Manager, CBO ^
Matt Simpson, Talent Bound Manager, High School ^
Ryan Brown, Youth Apprenticeship Manager +
Hope Lane, Youth Apprenticeship Manager +
Marie Wright, Youth Apprenticeship Manager +
Tammy Green, Recruitment Manager *
Mileah Gray, Recruitment Manager *
Tiffani McLaurin, Recruitment Manager +
Abby Smith, Recruitment Manager +
Addie Buzas, Data Analyst *

Programs Team
Erika Cheney, Vice President, K-12 ^
Penny Dunning, Vice President, Career Services ^
Matt Impink, Vice President, Post-secondary and Executive Director, Indy Achieves ^
Esther Woodson, Director, Indy Achieves ^
Dionne Smith, Director, Neighborhood ^
Beth Bowling, Director, K-12 ^
Mary Ann West, Director, Career Services ^
William Hall, RES Manager +
Kevin Lema, Indy Achieves Student Success Coach, IUPUI +
Jeermal Sylvester, Neighborhood Programs Manager *

 


Posted on November 4th, 2020 in Success Story

The following excerpt is a success story shared by a student from the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program:

My journey began in 1990 when I was expelled from high school.  It involved a situation where I unknowingly assisted someone whom I should not have.  I went to Warren Township and took the GED test, but when I didn’t pass it, I was devastated and gave up.  I then started working at Wendy’s and with having a job, did not think I would need my high school diploma.  I was still young and naïve at this time.

I eventually went back to school at Howe High School as they were offering GED classes.  But honestly, I preferred hanging out with friends, and so I missed a lot of class.  I took the GED exam again, and failed it, so I pretty much continued this pattern for the next three years.  Finally, I just gave up.

As the years passed, it seemed as though my world was crumbling around me.  I lost my dad in 2006 and my husband was sick and hurting all of the time. My mother passed in 2016 and I felt as though I was going crazy.  I did promise my mom that I would get my high school diploma and so I decided to begin again.  I would say to myself, “no matter what has come against me, I was now determined more than ever to achieve my goal!”

I found the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program online and that is where I once again began my journey, after so many years had passed.  It was then I met my teacher, who continued to encourage me.  She would say, “I know you can do it!”  With her support, and my determination, I felt I was unstoppable.  In my first attempt in taking the TASC (High School Equivalency Diploma), I passed all subjects but science and math.  On my second attempt, I passed science, but not math.

I then began to work diligently in the online programs provided.  My teacher would not give up on me and continued to work with me providing me the math knowledge I needed.  Even in the last couple

of years, I continued to have adverse circumstances come against me, but I promised myself, “I am really going to do it this time!”

On Friday October 16, 2020, I am happy to report that I passed the math portion of the TASC exam and as such, passed the entire exam. I achieved my goal after so many years!

I am now enrolled in PharmTech training and once I am certified, I am looking forward to “A Whole New World.” (As in the song for the movie, Aladdin 😊).

Thank you Washington Township Adult Education! This program offered me hope when my whole world was crashing down around me.

Check out FOX 59’s recent feature on the work being done by the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program here.

Through the federal CARES Act, the City of Indianapolis has appropriated approximately $2.6 million towards Rapid Reskilling Grants to be distributed by EmployIndy to local adult education providers. These funds aim to increase the opportunities available to adult students seeking their high school equivalency, high school diploma, or postsecondary certifications. You can view partnering adult education programs, view available trainings or find additional resources by visiting: workoneindy.com/adult-ed/.