Recent News & Blog

Posted on September 16th, 2020 in Events, Press Releases

Local and national diversity advocates challenge, recognize and inspire employers to exemplify diversity in their community, in their workplace

16 September 2020 – Indianapolis – Today was the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity. Pivoting due to the need for social distancing, this event took place virtually with nearly 300 people in attendance. This year’s event focused on the value of a diverse workforce, recognizing high-achieving local employers, and the importance of supporting Indianapolis youth through Project Indy.

“It is critical we take time to celebrate our community’s commitment to diversity,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, amidst national civil rights demonstrations and a pandemic that exacerbates existing inequalities, our cause has been given added urgency. Today, we commend the businesses and non-profits who are already leading the way toward a diverse and prosperous Indianapolis.”

With the support of the title sponsor, Genesys, and many others, the event hosted well-known local and national advocates. Emcee’d by FOX59’s Fanchon Stinger and Dan Spheler, attendees learned about the value and impact of workforce diversity and inclusion from keynote speaker, Janet Stovall; Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis; Tamika Catchings, owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy; Dr. Sean L. Huddleston, president of Marin University; Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy; Michael Huber, president & CEO of the Indy Chamber; Derris Ross, founder of the Ross Foundation; and Angela Smith Jones, vice president of diversity and inclusion for Health and Hospital Corp and former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development for the City of Indianapolis.

“As we look at building an inclusive Indianapolis, I want to encourage everyone to support small diverse businesses and encourage entrepreneurship for those reentering the workforce,” said Camille Blunt, Office of Minority and Women Business Development. “We all need to do our part to encourage equity and support of underutilized businesses.”

This event is a time to recognize employers who have made exceptional efforts to demonstrate inclusivity, diversity, and equity in their workplace through their leadership, workforce, community involvement and strategic planning. The awards are as follows:

  • “Sam H. Jones ‘Best of the Best’” was awarded to Peace Learning Center for their workforce diversity of all backgrounds and ages, and their recent adoption of new programs, systems and procedures to create a more welcoming and inclusive culture – which lead to a change in mission, vision and company values
  • “Diversity in Leadership” was awarded to Citizens Energy Group for the organization’s core leadership curriculum and support of a diverse organizational culture, providing quarterly updates to the Board regarding progress to their Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
  • “Diversity in Workforce” was awarded to the Morales Group who has implemented diversity best practices through their Project Azul career development and education program, supporting diversity through their programs and place of business
  • “Excellence in Youth Employment” was awarded to US Hydrovac Inc. for providing youth with the opportunity for a first job in a culture that promotes personal growth through mentoring and advancement as they describe avenues for successful careers in the trades industries

Due to the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Marion County causing establishments to experience temporary and permanent closures, there is a high number of individuals 16-24 who are now facing unemployment.

All proceeds from the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity go towards funding and supporting Mayor Hogsett’s Project Indy youth jobs program. This program introduces young people to what is often their first job, teaching them the importance of soft skills such as time management, teamwork, workplace etiquette, and more.

“Through Project Indy, nearly 15,000 young people have had access to local job opportunities over the past four years,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, EmployIndy. “These young people are the future of Indianapolis – the future of our workplaces and our neighborhoods. Creating diverse pathways for youth employment provides employers with the long-term talent needed in the workplace and individuals with the employability skills necessary to be successful in the future.”

In order to continue supporting the Project Indy program, please text MCOD2020 to 243-725 or go to employindy.org/donate. More information about Project Indy can be found at projectindy.net


Posted on August 10th, 2020 in Events, Press Releases

Local leaders, national figures to recognize Marion County businesses and organizations making equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority during digital event

10 August 2020 – Indianapolis – This year Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Celebration of Diversity, taking place virtually, will be focused on not only recognizing the diversity within Indianapolis organizations, it will challenge all people and employers to improve the work they are doing to make their workplace one that emphasizes and demonstrates the importance of true equity, inclusion, and equality.

Join emcees Fanchon Stinger and Dan Spehler of Fox59 on September 16, 2020 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, to celebrate Indianapolis and challenge your organization to make a difference or simply to learn more about what it means to have an inclusive, equitable workplace.

As we celebrate those who are striving to build inclusive organizations, join us in diving deeper with well-known speakers and local influencers from all over the nation. Hosting this year’s event virtually provides the flexibility to hear from people who are on the ground, actively engaged in building inclusive environments. As a special feature, attendees will have the opportunity to hear a special message from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett as well as information about workplace resources available to organizations through Indy Chamber, Office of Minority and Women Business Development, and EmployIndy.

 “I am looking forward to speaking alongside such a powerful group of individuals who are making a difference in their community and challenging each of us to do the same,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis. “We are stronger together. I hope you will take time on September 16th to join us.”

This year’s keynote will be Janet Stovall, executive speechwriter, cultural change agent, and TED speaker. She will be emphasizing the true power of a diverse workforce and demonstrating actions businesses can take to build a culture of inclusivity.

Alongside Stovall, the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity will host Tamika Catchings, local business owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy and former U.S. Olympic gold medalist, who will provide insight into the impact that a diverse workforce makes on an organization. The event will also host Dr. Sean L. Huddleston, president of Martin University and advocate for diversity who focuses his efforts on establishing conditions for success for individuals historically underserved and underrepresented. Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, Angela Smith Jones, will provide closing remarks.

Derris Ross, founder of the Ross Foundation, will also be joining – emphasizing the work that his organization is doing to ensure diversity and the impact it is having on Indianapolis. Among other populations, Ross works most closely with young people who are no longer engaged in school or in the workforce and provides them with employment opportunities while they gain employability skills.

If you think your workplace exemplifies what it means to be diverse, consider submitting a nomination for one of five prestigious awards. Nomination applications are open until August 12th at employindy.org/connect/mcod-nominate.  Sponsorship opportunities and tickets available to the public as well at employindy.org/connect/mcod-sponsor.

Proceeds from this event go towards Mayor Joe Hogsett’s program, Project Indy, a location-based job portal for Indianapolis youth and young adults – many of whom are underserved and underrepresented. Please consider donating to continue funding this program that has connected nearly 15,000 youth and young adults to employers over the past four years.


Posted on February 21st, 2020 in Events

Yesterday at George Washington High School 15 students participated in the Girls in Tech panel discussion. The purpose of the event was to expose girls to various roles within the tech industry beyond the more traditionally known. EmployIndy pitched the idea for the panel to George Washington High School and connected the employers to the event.

The panel was moderated by Morgan Walker, Technology Employer Engagement Manager at EmployIndy. The panelists included Arwa Ghalawan, Diversity and Inclusion Representative at Infosys; Mariel McAlister, Talent Acquisition at Sallie Mae; Raquel Dukes, Technical Services Team Lead at SmarterHQ; Anita Donnelly, Director of Support and Onboarding Operations at SmarterHQ; and Vicki Daugherty, Program Manager, Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) and Diversity Coordinator at IU School of Informatics.

 

Tell us about your career pathway from when you graduated high school to where you are now.

Arwa Ghalawan: I graduated in 2018 from ITCC in software development. Finished an internship to learn more about what I wanted to do, and my advice for you is connect, connect, connect. Now I work in diversity and inclusion with Infosys. I help our global employees learn about and feel connected to the community of Indianapolis.

Anita Donnelly: I didn’t go through the same schooling the others did, but I get to work with the developers and teams. I just took a little different way to get there.

Mariel McAlister: I started out doing fashion websites, and things like that, so I took a class and found out that I do not like programming at all. It wasn’t until I did my first internship experience that I realized how much I loved HR and I did that at a small tech startup. At another tech company, I did recruitment and employee experience. I find I get to use a lot of technology and design in my roles. 

Raquel Dukes: I went to a pre-engineering program in the summer and found I did not want to do engineering, so I tried math, but did not want to do that either. Computer information systems on the business side with marketing seemed to be the thing for me. I did find I was good at programming, but I like being with people too. My first job was in consulting which I enjoyed, but also learned about myself and where I wanted to be in programming. 

Vicki Daugherty: Before the advent of the printing press, we did not have books and people did not need to read. For you, consider code as the next printing press. Get enough of it so wherever you go in a career so you understand computer language.

What is your favorite part of the tech industry?

Raquel: Every day is different, every client is different, and an opportunity to use different strategies for problem solving. 

Mariel: If I do the same thing every day, I get bored. In the tech industry you are thrown different things every day, and I find that exciting. 

Morgan Walker: I get to work with a ton of amazing companies, and I love the innovation that is happening across these companies. Learning how they come up with the ideas, and put them into action. The individuals I meet are lifelong learners to keep up with the industry. Wherever my career takes me, I want to stay in this industry.

Vicki: I work with a lot of students, and what I find exciting is we are teaching students things that don’t even exist yet from disease cures to the next entertainment innovation. Because I work with companies as well, I know how desperately they need women and diversity overall. If the same people are designing products all the time the products would be all the same.

Arwa: My strong accent was my main challenge in school, but now I love it because it makes me unique.

What’s the biggest challenge you face with working/support the tech industry?

Raquel: I see the greatest challenge in the tech industry is the constant change. It is constantly changing. 

Mariel: I agree with that, because in the recruiting field we are always learning new programs.

Anita: Learning how to read different languages. For example, I had a problem and the development team said here is the code that finds that, you should be able to find it with this. I found it, and that was really rewarding. Know your information, go out there, be strong, and hold your own.

Vicki: There is a study that shows that men will apply for jobs where they meet 20% of the requirements, but women will not apply for jobs unless they meet 80% of the requirements. My advice is apply for it anyway. (View a similar study here.)

After the panel, students were free to ask their own questions.

What is informatics?

Arwa: For me to finish my bachelor at IUPUI, I went through informatics which belongs to software development, and computer science classes.

Vicki: Think about how to help people use technology. Make it intuitive, and how they will use the data. Healthcare, ap development, business… That does mean it is everything, but we are really concerned about how people use technology, and help them. It is applied computer science.

My teacher taught us coding. I like it, but am I supposed to know everything? It is scary and pushing me away from technology.

Raquel: You will never know everything, but we huddle in our work group to figure it out. We Google it, and figure out work-arounds together. You have help. At school you need to get the grade, but at work you have help through people and resources.

Since I am in a different pathway other than head-on technology, what are the industries that I can work with technology? What are your day to day interactions with the companies? I am trying to figure out what I want to do.

Morgan: In my day to day I work with many companies. With companies that have 3 people, what I see is they are tech people trying to start a business but they don’t know where to start. They need business people to help them with administration and marketing. I work with very large companies, and small companies, but they all need the right people to work in all roles of their organizations. That is their greatest challenge.

What is your most favorite thing you do on a day to day basis?

Arwa: Working with people. You can make someone’s day by asking how is your weekend and socializing a little.

Mariel: I like helping people, and being the expert in my field.

Raquel: Finding something that works better than what I have been doing.

Anita: Problem solving as I work with scheduling. I literally call it playing Tetris, because I have to schedule their time without driving them crazy. Just about that time a higher priority/critical job comes in, and I have to tear it all down and build it back up.

Vicki: When I push students to participate in projects and programs, and they come back and tell them I signed up or thank you.

Morgan: I am very inquisitive, so I ask a lot of questions. The people I get to work with are very smart and passionate about what they do, and I feel very lucky to get to work with the people I do. I take advantage of it every day.

Mariel: Networking is such an important part of what we do. It was really hard for me when I started because I was an introvert, but I pushed out of my comfort zone. You never know what it can lead to, an internship or mentor.

Arwa: My best advice for you is to create an internet account like LinkedIn, and connect with people.

What is your advice to finding your pathway?

Morgan: Learn your strengths by failing.  Failing is ok – you figure out what’s not for you. Try things, and if you fail, great, you learn from it. Then when you find what you’re passionate about, go for it 110%.

Arwa: Do as many internships as you can starting with high school. When you get to college, go to all the career fairs. Push yourself to do that early on. The biggest mistake college students make is not doing internships, and graduating without an experience. Experience is so important.

Employers interested in getting involved with work-based learning experiences such as this panel can go to TalentBound.org.