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Posted on November 12th, 2021 in Events, Speaking Engagements, Success Story, Uncategorized

The hospitality industry continues to struggle from the hard-hitting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite businesses reopening, many in the service industries are facing widespread labor shortages that largely affect the ability of employers to return to business as normal. A recent report found that the leisure and service industry continues to lack almost 2.2 million jobs, nearly ⅓ of the total missing occupations in the United States. 

Indianapolis’ hospitality industry is facing similar repercussions as businesses fight to recover from the pandemic. Many local hospitality employers began expressing their adverse experiences in navigating recovery to EmployIndy’s Business Partnerships team this past Winter. 

The Business Partnerships team fosters collaborative connections with Marion County employers to better understand the barriers they are facing. Simultaneously, the team helps businesses establish organizational best practices to attract, train, and maintain qualified employees. EmployIndy’s business partners receive wrap-around support in establishing comprehensive career pathways that leverage diverse talent from the Indianapolis community, including young adults

“The Business Partnerships team is always looking for new opportunities to bring together our employer and school partners and create mutually beneficial connections that help establish talent pipelines between community businesses and local students,” says Tracy Murphy, EmployIndy’s Associate Director of Business Partnerships. 

In order to better support businesses amid the recovery from COVID-19 and the ensuing labor shortage, collaboration between employers in the hospitality industry and those entering the workforce was necessitated. To further these efforts, the Business Partnerships team collaborated with Matt Simpson, the Associate Director of Talent Bound, EmployIndy’s work-based learning initiative that connects employers to educators and students through a variety of career exposure, engagement, and experiential activities

On Thursday, September 2nd, Murphy and Simpson facilitated a roundtable discussion in coordination with Visit Indy and Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (INRLA), The discussion included seven representatives from local hospitality businesses and a variety of EmployIndy’s K-12 and education partners, listed below.

During the hour-long, virtual roundtable, hospitality employers from across Marion County shared their experiences with economic recovery as well as their ideas on possible solutions to local labor shortages, including the establishment of talent pipelines in Indianapolis high schools. 

“This discussion was a great opportunity for the hospitality industry to share its hiring needs and for our school partners to gain insight on the available career pathways in Marion County,” says Simpson.

The agenda contained topics such as wage compensation, work hours, available positions, and transportation barriers. Education providers then shared upcoming events as well as specific contact information with the hospitality employers to promote continuing communication. Both parties curated sustainable working relationships, helping students to find employment and hospitality employers to attract and maintain quality workers. 

“As the high school representative for Talent Bound, our goal is to expose young people to as many different career pathways as possible throughout their K-12 experiences, helping ensure that they can make an informed career decision when the time comes,”  says Simpson. “The roundtable event connected schools interested in establishing partnerships with local employers who are willing to share industry opportunities with students.”

This discussion resulted in numerous opportunities for hospitality representatives to participate in school events such as guest speaking, career days, and organizational tours. Student internship opportunities with local hospitality employers have been introduced as well, launching a solid foundation for the development of future talent pipelines in Marion County. EmployIndy will continue to facilitate the connection and communication between hospitality employers and local schools, offering guidance on how to best engage high schoolers and present career opportunities within the hospitality industry. 

Are you an employer interested in connecting with EmployIndy’s Business Partnerships team? Email Tracy Murphy at to get started! 

Hospitality Representatives in Attendance:

Education Providers and K-12 Partners in Attendance:


Posted on October 17th, 2021 in Events, Success Story

EmployIndy held an outing for the inaugural cohort of the Modern Apprenticeship program at Victory Field on Thursday, September 30th. Youth Apprenticeship Managers and other EmployIndy staff joined the Youth Apprentices for an Indianapolis Indians game to celebrate the progress of and community within the pilot cohort. 

The entire MAP team enjoyed food and drinks before watching the game, giving the Youth Apprentices the opportunity to further connect and share their experiences. Their apprenticeships began at the start of the school year after completing the Summer MAP Bootcamp, where apprentices developed their employability skills and networked with the inaugural cohort.

Ja’Kyra Cox, a junior at George Washington High School, was amongst the Youth Apprentices who attended the game. She is currently an apprentice at Ivy Tech Community College and has thoroughly enjoyed her experience this far, saying her apprenticeship is what she looked forward to the most when starting her day.

Cox also noted how much of a learning experience the Modern Apprenticeship program is. It has been a “challenge” for her to balance both work and school, but the community and opportunities within her apprenticeship have been the best part.

Ramiro Delgado, a junior at Arsenal Technical High School, is apprenticing with Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) building maintenance team. He also attended the game and spoke of his experience as a Youth Apprentice. Delgado noted that the transition from a regular high school student to a MAP participant was difficult at first, but now that he is settled in his position, he really enjoys “fixing technical problems around the local schools.”

Clarissa Hunt of Pike High School is a Youth Apprentice at Pepper Construction and has found her MAP experience to be very enriching thus far. She said, “Not only do I love this program, but I am learning skills and tools I can actually use in a job.” Kinaya Hines, a junior from North Central High School and a Youth Apprentice at Roche Diagnostics, echoed Hunt’s words, also noting that her apprenticeship has really taught her the importance of responsibility and communication. 

Modern Apprenticeship is an integral program of Talent Bound, EmployIndy’s work-based learning initiative that supports young people throughout Marion County (both in school and out) as they investigate different career pathways and are exposed to local employers in the workforce. Dr. Mechelle Polter, Director of Talent Bound, joined the Youth Apprentices at the Indians Game. 

“The best part of this outing was sitting at the table chatting with the apprentices about their experiences,” said Polter. “Talking to them in a casual setting really brought life to the program we have spent so much time to build.”

The Youth Apprentices who joined the MAP team for the Indianapolis Indians game collectively recommended the Modern Apprenticeship program. Melanie Garcia, an apprentice with the K-12 and Postsecondary team at EmployIndy where she directly works with K-12 programs, noted that Modern Apprenticeship, “. . is an opportunity that upcoming high school juniors do not want to miss!”

The Modern Apprenticeship program combines work-based learning and the traditional classroom curriculum to fortify the skills and experiences young people need to succeed in the modern world of work.

“The Apprentices are so excited and motivated by what they are doing. One apprentice said how much he enjoyed learning not just behind a desk,” said Polter. 


Posted on October 10th, 2021 in Events, Local News, Organizational Updates, Success Story

EmployIndy and Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House on Tuesday, October 5th in celebration of Indy Achieves’ new offices at Ivy Tech’s downtown campus (50 W. Fall Creek Parkway, North Drive).

This event recognized the third year of Indy Achieves’ partnership with Ivy Tech Community College as well as the opening of the Indy Achieves Student Center at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. Indy Achieves is Mayor Joe Hogsett’s response to Indianapolis’ rapidly changing labor market by ensuring that every Indianapolis resident has the ability to both pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree program. Eligible new students or former Ivy Tech and IUPUI students with an outstanding balance in Marion County can utilize Indy Achieve’s wraparound services to earn a credential or degree.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony began at 10:45 AM with opening remarks from Indy Achieves’ Leadership Team, including Matt Impink, VP Postsecondary and Executive Director of Indy Achieves at EmployIndy, and Esther Woodson, Director of Indy Achieves.  

“We are thrilled to open the Indy Achieves Student Center at Ivy Tech. Over this past year, we were able to award 341 Promise Scholarships and 154 Reconnect Completion Grants to Ivy Tech students as well as grow our number of onsite student success coaches,” said Matt Impink. “This space will not only support students to complete at Ivy Tech but provide supports for career connection as well.”

The opening remarks were followed by an address from Ivy Tech Indianapolis Chancellor, Dr. Lorenzo Esters. Of the impactful services that Indy Achieves offers students, Dr. Esters noted, “The success of Indy Achieves at Ivy Tech has been life-changing for our students.” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was also a keynote speaker at the celebration, sharing his pride for the program and of the achievements that students have accomplished with help from Indy Achieves.

“Since we created the Indy Achieves program in 2018, the importance of its original motivation has only heightened,” said Mayor Hogsett. “By providing more residents with accessible routes to complete post-secondary education, we are promoting equity and opportunity at a critical time. Today’s Ribbon Cutting renews that central ambition while marking the continued progress and expansion of this vital program.”

Indy Achieves student, Adriyanna Staten, and Ivy Tech Indianapolis Student Government Association President and Indy Achieves student, Tapiwa Mzumara, also gave testimonies to the impact of Indy Achieves on their personal lives and professional careers. After beginning her post-secondary education in 2013, Mzumara had to put her education on hold while caring for her chronically ill mother, dealing with financial hardships, and working to become a DACA recipient. She found herself with an outstanding balance and no way to pay it, forcing her to not return to Ivy Tech the following Spring Semester. 

In 2019, Mzumara was informed of Indy Achieves’ Completion Grant while working in retail to make ends meet. Marion County residents may apply for a completion grant to cover unpaid bursar bills or other substantial debts preventing students from continuing their postsecondary education. Upon receiving a Completion Grant, Mzumara was able to return to Ivy Tech Community College and continue pursuing her degree in Biotechnology. “Tapiwa has shared that this grant changed the trajectory of her life,” Esters added. “We are so proud of everything she and all Indy Achieves recipients have accomplished.”

The new offices remained open following the ribbon cutting, allowing students to see the new space and connect with Ivy Tech and Indy Achieves representatives. You can check out WISH-TV's news coverage of this event to learn more.