9 March 2021 – Indianapolis – Today launches the fifth year of the Project Indy Youth Jobs initiative. Through the Project Indy digital job search platform, thousands of Indianapolis young people are connected to jobs each year. This tool is used as a resource by over 100 employers as they seek to fill their full-time and part-time positions and youth as they look for employment, particularly during the summer months. As with all other things, this initiative and the young people it supports have seen the repercussions of the COVID-19 impact.
In 2020 over 32% of young adults 16-24 were employed in the hospitality and tourism industry – one that has suffered greatly from the pandemic. While this is felt globally, Indianapolis particularly struggled with a large portion of the local economy relying on the success of those industries.
“Project Indy has been incredibly successful over the past five years, connecting young people with jobs and skill-building opportunities in industries across Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, Project Indy will be a part of our city’s economic comeback from the pandemic, boosting our hospitality and tourism workforces and contributing to overall job growth. And it will help employers as well, as young workers are exposed to new career paths in our city’s core industries. It truly is a win-win.”
Project Indy is a location-based, job search platform connecting young adults to local employers. With a large majority of the hospitality industry traditionally staffed by youth and young adults, major sporting events like the ones Indianapolis will host this March provide opportunities for youth to not only make money, but to obtain important job skills that will help them be successful as they progress through the workforce.
“Indianapolis is fortunate to be hosting upcoming basketball tournaments on the national stage,” said Department of Tourism, Event and Sports Management Chair at IUPUI, Brian Krohn. “Not only will the buzz positively impact our economy, there will also be many part-time jobs now available for young workers to assist with the influx of visitors and our hope that this will provide the opportunity for many of our local businesses to open their doors again.”
In Indianapolis, sports and events have always been tools to drive economic growth – and the tournaments will be no exception.
“Events like GenCon, FDIC, and now March Madness, held at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium are often considered to be what defines Indianapolis. I’ve always maintained that it’s the people behind events like these that make our city great,” said Andy Mallon, Executive Director, Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. “By hiring through Project Indy, employers in all different industries, including hospitality, have the opportunity to invest in the next generation of young ambassadors for Indianapolis.”
By offering jobs throughout Indianapolis, Project Indy will be able to service events like those taking place this month. As youth are gainfully employed, they learn additional skills that will help them as they progress through their career.
“The ongoing impact of hiring a young person goes far beyond the day-to-day job responsibilities. What they learn will influence who they are as a person, how they grow in their soft and hard skills, and what industries they choose to go into when they formally progress into the workforce,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “This provides us as employers an opportunity to make what we know will be beneficial investments both short- and long-term as we impact someone today and arm them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.”
Employers can sign up today to have their positions listed on the Project Indy job search platform at projectindy.net
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 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 and business 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