Recent News & Blog

Posted on March 19th, 2021 in Events, Press Releases, Uncategorized

2021 JAG Career Development Conference celebrates high school student’s career readiness

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – March 17, 2021 – Today the Indianapolis Jobs for America’s Graduates Career Development Conference took place virtually, for the very first time. Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a program for high school juniors and seniors that helps arm them with the workforce development skills to be successful after high school – whether they choose to persist onto postsecondary or pursue a career. This annual conference provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their career readiness skills that they learn throughout the school year.

“During the 2020-2021 school year, the JAG Indy programs continued to excel in delivering successes for participants even in the midst of the pandemic, serving 827 students in fifteen Indianapolis schools,” said Erika Cheney, VP of K-12 at EmployIndy. “Like all other programs, we have needed to adapt our local model to support students virtually.”

With hundreds of students participating, the JAG Career Development Conference would traditionally be a full-day in-person event with high school students demonstrating career readiness skills in front of volunteer judges. Some of the competitions include critical thinking, financial literacy, employability skills, entrepreneurship, public speaking, outstanding seniors, and more.

“It is exciting to witness the drive and passion that so many of these students demonstrate during the competition,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy who spoke at this morning’s event. “These young people are learning employability skills that will last them far beyond high school and prepare them for future employment.”

Many organizations partner with JAG throughout the school year, hosting events and presenting in classrooms. This year the 2021 JAG Career Development Conference is offering a new award to the community partner who made a difference for students and impact in the community. This year the award is given to Beatrice Beverly with Stop the Violence Indianapolis.

Thank you to our 2021 sponsors who made this event possible and congratulations to all the participants for a successful virtual event and to the winners who stood out above their peers in demonstrating employability skills and career readiness success.

Gold Sponsors: Saint Joseph’s College of Marian University; B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains

Bronze Sponsor: Securitas Security Systems

Award Recipients

Chapter Marketing Campaign:

  1. George Washington High School
  2. McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  3. Decatur Central High School

Entrepreneurship Plan:

  1. Arsenal Technical High School

Career Presentation:

  1. Faith Akinwande – Decatur Central High School
  2. Andrea Romero – Shortridge High School
  3. Samantha Rudge – Beech Grove High School

Creative Solutions:

  1. John Diaz – Warren Central High School
  2. Jared Wolfe – Indiana School for the Deaf
  3. Saul Torres – Decatur Central High School

Critical Thinking:

  1. Lia Burton – Decatur Central High School
  2. Aireyona Mitchell – Shortridge High School
  3. Prince Ndahiriwe – Decatur Central High School

Employability Skills:

  1. Gabriela Perez – Shortridge High School
  2. Anita Martin – Arsenal Technical High School
  3. Grace Gill – Decatur Central High School

Digital Invitation:

  1. Jahaira Santos-Trujillo – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  2. Karen Bautista Tellez – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  3. Paola Avila Hernandez – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology

Financial Literacy:

  1. Gunnar Wiser – Decatur Central High School
  2. Jade Tien – Warren Central High School
  3. Felicity Walters – Decatur Central High School

Public Speaking:

  1. Joanna Nunez-Mancilla – George Washington High School
  2. Janice Rivera – Decatur Central High School
  3. Emma Teachman – Beech Grove High School

Writing Skills:

  1. Kayden Kimbrough – Beech Grove High School
  2. Anab Jamal – Decatur Central High School
  3. Sharon Oyatayo – Decatur Central High School

Outstanding Senior:

  1. Anita Martin – Arsenal Technical High School
  2. Shelby Gosser – Decatur Central High School
  3. Dieu Merci Mfaume – George Washington High School

You can learn more about the Jobs for America’s Graduates program here.

Posted on December 3rd, 2020 in Events, Success Story

“The Power Huddle helped me out because it made me sit there and set goals for me and my children and also think about what I really want for my life.” said Daijia Bible, a 23-year-old mother of three and recent completer of YES Indy’s virtual Power Huddle program. Daijia, along with 23 other young adults from Indy’s Eastside, gathered virtually and in-person in a socially distanced setting at the Indianapolis Boys & Girls Club located on 38th & Post Rd to celebrate this important milestone. During the ceremony that included completers from cohorts 17-19, several had the opportunity to share how the Power Huddle had helped them grow as well as show off their “vision board”, which they created during their time in the program.

The Power Huddle is YES Indy’s two-week job readiness experience where young persons have the opportunity to participate in group discussions, explore opportunities and support through YES Indy, and complete job preparedness activities that help them map out and work towards reaching their academic, career, and life goals. Since its inception, the Power Huddle has seen over 140 young persons go through the program. Upon completion, young individuals like Daijia develop important soft skills, earn two badges from Job Ready Indy, and build the confidence needed to take their next step. For Daijia, that includes studying cosmetology and eventually starting her own business. Thanks to the Power Huddle, she’s taken an important step in making those goals a reality.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Power Huddle program is currently being offered virtually. Young persons interested in participating in an upcoming Power Huddle session can learn more and register by visiting:

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.