January is National Mentoring Month, celebrating the nature of mentorship in its ability to amplify change and help young people find and follow their passions, one relationship at a time. With a strategic goal to create a positive trajectory for young adults to actively participate in the workforce, EmployIndy uses mentorship to engage Marion County youth and prepare them for a future of success. By meeting students and young people where they are, local business leaders and educators work alongside EmployIndy staff to share experiences and expertise that both foster career development and bring inspiration.
“Hi Ana! Just checking in to see how you’re doing being home from school? I’ll be sending info later on registering for orientation, but I’m here if you need anything. Stay healthy.”
Each school year, hundreds of Indy Achieves students planning to attend IUPUI and Ivy Tech have the opportunity to connect with a mentor, a local community or business leader, and receive support through phone calls or text messages like the one above. Born out of the belief that all Indianapolis residents should have the ability to pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree program, Indy Achieves staff and mentors diligently offer support to students in everything ranging from filing for FAFSA to registering for classes. This mentorship goes a long way in preventing summer melt, a phenomenon where high school graduates and returning students never make it to classes in the Fall due to overlooked letters and emails, unfinished financial aid forms, failure to turn in important health documents, and more. In 2019, over 70% of Indy Achieves students took advantage of this mentorship offering and received the support they needed to start or continue their postsecondary.
Through Talent Bound, high school students have the opportunity to connect with local employers andbusiness leaders, called Talent Mentors. In a group setting, students gain career knowledge, industry exposure and develop their personal network as they meet virtually and in-person with their Talent Mentor. In 2020, Talent Mentors worked with students at 25 mentoring events, impacting the lives of over 145 students within the IPS school system. These students had the opportunity to learn about competencies, expectations and experiences within the health sciences, business & finance, cosmetology, culinary, computer science, automotive, advanced manufacturing, military, construction and visual arts industries.
Young people outside of the education system also have the opportunity to engage in mentorship through the YES Indy Power Huddle program. Power Huddle works to mentor local youth through a two-week intensive training where individuals learn how they can change their future trajectory that will help them take the next step in furthering their education or career. To provide support and accountability, Power Huddle instructors use mentorship and relationship building to help move participants from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Through adult mentoring within the Power Huddle program, students also develop employability skills, find help with career navigation, receive life coaching, job readiness training, adult education services, and counseling.
If you would like to help prepare Marion County’s youth and young adults for the workforce through mentorship, use the links below to find out how you can become involved with an EmployIndy-led program:
The entire EmployIndy and YES Indy family mourns with the Indianapolis community after the loss of “Mr. Johnny” Purchase, a beloved mentor and community leader who helped shape the lives of so many young persons throughout our city. He was an active and dedicated member of both the YES Indy and Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) teams, providing mentorship and guidance to so many who participated in youth and family focused programming.
“He’s one of the most thoughtful men I know.” expressed Jamiah Banks, a YES Indy participant, in remembering the role that Mr. Johnny played in his life. “He did whatever he could to help others.” Jamiah also recalled memories of how Mr. Johnny would help him with his school work and regularly challenge him to 3-point shootout competitions in the basketball gym.
Mr. Johnny tragically lost his life on January 12, 2021 while out serving in the community, bringing hope to struggling families. When serving with YES Indy, Mr. Johnny was always faithful to reinforce YES Indy’s work by encouraging the young people around him to establish a vision for their life and achieve it. “Mentor, life-coach, motivator, professional, passionate, compassionate, committed, dependable, firm, fair, warm, steady. These are but a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Johnny Purchase.” said Rev. Rodney T. Francis, Chief Programs Officer at EmployIndy. “Johnny epitomized the ideal Re-Engagement Facilitator. He had a unique way of reaching and connecting with Opportunity Youth. His impact was huge and his loss is a tremendous blow to our community.”
When Devonte Whitehead, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s, received his forklift license, Mr. Johnny took him out to lunch to celebrate the accomplishment. “Everything he did, he did it with a purpose.” remembers Whitehead. “He would always have a smile on his face and if you were having a bad day, he could cheer you up by just looking at you.”
Mr. Johnny Purchase served as a Family Success Coach at the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) where he had an “unyielding commitment to engender a vision of hope.” Lashawn Offett, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s at EMCC, described him as a caring person who ultimately motivated him to go back to school to finish his diploma.
On behalf of all of the EmployIndy staff, we ask that you join us in lifting up the Purchase family, keeping them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. If you would like to offer support in additional ways, details can be found on the family’s GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/07a48022
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.