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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.

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

Posted on October 27th, 2020 in Organizational Updates, Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 27, 2020) – EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana today launched a new apprenticeship model for Indianapolis high school students to prepare them for the future in high-demand industries. Modern Apprenticeship (MAP) is a paid two- to three-year work-based learning experience with local employers, where students will emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials and professional experience. This pilot apprenticeship program starts during an Indianapolis student’s junior year of high school.

Up to 30 students from five Indianapolis-area township school districts and charter schools* will be hired by one of 16 employers* representing a variety of growing, high-demand industries including information technology, financial services, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. Additional apprenticeship opportunities are also available in business operations including human resources, sales and marketing.

Modern Apprenticeship enables high school students to attain soft skills, technical skills and relevant work experience, while excelling in their high school and postsecondary coursework. During the first two years of the apprenticeship, students spend a portion of their day in school and a portion of their day working. In their third year, they focus primarily on their job while finishing the requirements for their industry recognized credential. This schedule provides students with the flexibility to maintain extracurricular activities and social connections while in high school. EmployIndy will also come alongside employers, supervisors, mentors and students by providing support to ensure students are developing professionally and progressing successfully through the program.

“As employers’ demand for highly skilled talent continues to grow in our community, we must establish a system of support to close the equity gap for Indianapolis students,” said Marie Mackintosh, chief strategy officer, EmployIndy. “We have partnered with regional and national career readiness initiatives to pilot a program that provides students with quality, career-relevant experiences combined with classroom learning that will prepare young people for a successful transition to college and jobs of the future.”

The occupations currently available to apprentices include junior coder, quality assurance tech, IT support tech, medical assistant, billing and coding specialist, staff accountant, maintenance technician and project coordinator. Students in the program will earn an average of $13 per hour for their work.

“By providing work-based learning opportunities to high school students from diverse backgrounds, Indianapolis will be able to prepare a strong workforce aligned with 21st century employer demand,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “In addition, having work experience will be especially critical for students as the economy reshapes following COVID-19 and the job market becomes even more competitive.”

“We are thrilled to work alongside Marion County’s workforce development board, EmployIndy, and Ascend Indiana to explore ways to deliver paid employment, on-the-job learning, and related high school and postsecondary classroom-based instruction for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “To further support the Modern Apprenticeship program, the City of Indianapolis will hire up to five apprentices to work in various departments within the City-County enterprise.”

Momentum has been building in Indiana and nationwide to develop models for connecting employers and high school students, with Modern Apprenticeship being one approach. Through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, this model is being established in Indianapolis, with plans to coordinate learnings and share best practices statewide.

“In 2019, an Indiana coalition came together to create a modern apprenticeship strategy by benchmarking with established programs in Switzerland and emerging initiatives in Colorado, Washington and South Carolina,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “What we learned has guided our plans for the modern apprenticeship pilot and our vision for a statewide system. At the core, Modern Apprenticeship is an options multiplier that provides more than one structured pathway for Indiana’s high school students to achieve success following graduation.”

*Participating Indianapolis-area Township School Districts and Charter Schools: Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Phalen Leadership Academy, Pike High School, Washington Township and Victory College Prep

*Participating Employers: Ascend Indiana, Ascension St. Vincent, City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Katz Sapper & Miller, iLAB, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indy Chamber, Ivy Tech Community College, OneAmerica, Roche Diagnostics, Skillful Indiana, TechPoint, The Heritage Group and UnitedHealthcare

  • To learn more about Modern Apprenticeship (MAP), visit
  • Modern Apprenticeship video can be found HERE.
  • Quotes from the Modern Apprenticeship pilot employers can be found below.

About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. Our vision is for all Marion County residents to have access to services and training necessary to secure a livable wage and grow in a career that meets employer demand for talent. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 24 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. Learn more at

About Ascend Indiana
Ascend Indiana is the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an organization that brings together industry, higher education and philanthropic leaders to advance our region’s prosperity and growth. Ascend’s vision is for Indiana to be a place of economic opportunity for all. To achieve this, Ascend bridges talent and communication gaps by creating connectivity between people and employers. Ascend has focused its efforts around three core priorities: connecting job seekers to career opportunities through the Ascend Network talent platform, catalyzing transformative employer and education partnerships through Ascend Services, and informing workforce research and public policy through thought leadership. To learn more, visit

About the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation
The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation strives to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people by addressing the city’s most significant challenges and opportunities. The Foundation is focused on three issue-areas: education, health, and the vitality of Indianapolis. To advance its work, the Foundation implements a three-pronged approach: strategic grant-making, evidence-based advocacy, and cross-sector collaborations and convenings. Learn more at

Quotes from Modern Apprenticeship Pilot Employers:

Ascension St. Vincent: “Ascension St. Vincent is thrilled to be partnering with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy to improve the attraction of a diverse healthcare workforce through several innovative work-based training and education programs for high school students. We share the mutual goal of not only promoting an inclusive culture of engaged associates within the workplace, but also strengthening the communities we serve.”
Cindy Adams, chief nursing officer, Ascension St. Vincent 

Indianapolis Airport Authority: “The Indianapolis Airport Authority believes incorporating an apprentice program into our workforce development initiatives will develop the skills needed to address 21st century workforce challenges by creating a pipeline of skilled employees, better matching of employee skills and character with our needs and culture as well as development of future managers.”
Mario Rodriguez, executive director, Indianapolis Airport Authority

Indy Chamber: “The Indy Chamber is pleased to support the launch of the Modern Apprenticeship initiative, as well as the broader workforce programming of EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana. Partnerships like this allow the Chamber to provide our business community access to top-tier resources for their workforce development needs while staying true to our core mission.”
Mark Fisher, chief policy officer, Indy Chamber

 Ivy Tech Community College: “Ivy Tech has been a partner each step of the way in the movement to create and implement a robust youth apprenticeship strategy in Indiana. In addition to our involvement in developing strategy, policies, and practices, we believe the best way for us to demonstrate our commitment to youth apprenticeships is to be an early adopter. We like to think of this as putting an outstanding idea into action as one of the first employers in our state to hire students through the emerging Modern Apprenticeship program.”
Chris Lowery, senior vice president of Workforce and Careers, Ivy Tech

Katz, Sapper & Miller:
“As a pilot partner in the Modern Apprenticeship program, Katz, Sapper & Miller is excited to explore a new avenue for identifying and nurturing young talent, while providing meaningful work-based opportunities for high school students who otherwise might not be exposed to a career in public accounting. It’s a win all around – for participating students, for their schools, and for us as an employer.”
Jim Nestor, chief human resources officer, Katz, Sapper & Miller

OneAmerica: “OneAmerica is eager to be a Modern Apprenticeship employer partner. Through our Pathways Program, we’ve seen firsthand how workforce development innovation can make a positive impact for students and employers. Modern Apprenticeship extends this work, and we are delighted to create a pipeline of talent by introducing even more students to careers in financial services.”
Scott Davison, president and CEO, OneAmerica

Roche Diagnostics: “Roche understands the importance of cultivating a career-ready workforce, which is why we invest heavily in our collegiate Summer @ Roche internship program, our Accelerated Development Program and our Roche Academy partnership with the University of Indianapolis. Through the Modern Apprenticeship program, we’ll be able to extend our outreach even further as we develop and learn from area high school students.”
Terra Doyle, Integrated Workforce Strategies Practice lead, Recruiting Americas, Roche Diagnostics

Skillful: “We are delighted to support the new Modern Apprenticeship for Indianapolis high school students, both as a contributor to the development of this program, and as an employer.  With the focus on skills-based practices which this initiative has adopted, employers can more easily match the skills they need with those a student can provide, and provide crucial on-the-job experience for students.”
Bill Turner, executive director, Skillful Indiana and National Rework America Alliance Delivery, Markle Foundation

TechPoint: “Apprenticeships provide a compelling model for harmonizing education with employment and expanding diversity and equity in the talent pipeline. TechPoint is happy to partner in this pilot both as an employer and in support of our members, who are the state’s most important tech employers.”
Mike Langellier, president and CEO, TechPoint

The Heritage Group: “We are excited to partner with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy on this important initiative. This investment in talent, education, and experiences will help connect the next generation of talent to careers at The Heritage Group and build a pathway for economic mobility in our community.”
Betsy McCaw, executive vice president of People + Organizational Capabilities, The Heritage Group