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Posted on February 7th, 2019 in Events Tags: ,

Today 136 Marion County high school juniors and seniors met at the Indianapolis Marriott East for the regional JAG Career Development Conference – including competitions around employability, skill development, and career goals. All students are part of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, better known as JAG, which has a presence in fourteen high schools throughout the county.

View the full photo album on EmployIndy’s Facebook Page

The morning kicked off with former Colts player Marlin Jackson, speaking to to the audience of students, JAG specialists, and volunteer judges from local businesses. “In life, in every aspect, you will need a growth mindset – especially in the workplace. When you get criticism, can you take it or do you get defensive? When you take that constructive criticism and utilize it, you grow. That’s why it’s called a growth mindset.”

EmployIndy would like to extend a big “thank you” to our sponsors for their support of this event! Our sponsors for the 2019 CDC included gold level sponsors: Bank of America and Fight for Life Foundation; silver level sponsors: St. Vincent/Ascension and Duke Realty; and bronze level sponsors: PNC Bank and Lift Academy. Sponsors had representatives attend the event to serve as judges for competitions, as well as to network with students during lunch. Here is what they had to say:

“I think what was most striking was the confidence that these students displayed during their Critical Thinking presentations. Students that have been part of programs like JAG will stand out when they come interview for positions, because they will have gone through scenarios where they had to think on the spot and provide some depth of thought around critical questions.”

– Andrew Crask, Indianapolis Market President, Bank of America

“It is very important to get students interested in healthcare and show them the various career possibilities in the industry outside of becoming a nurse or doctor. As a judge in the Career Presentation competition, I noticed that the students’ level of professionalism was impressive. It’s very important to be able to walk up and shake someone’s hand with eye contact.”

– Karen Jenne, Ascension/St. Vincent

“Our new flight academy is trying to help diversify the aviation profession. Having worked with EmployIndy and knowing what the JAG program is about, we thought tabling at the JAG CDC would be a perfect opportunity to show students a career pathway that they weren’t aware of and give them an opportunity to learn more about it. While judging the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, I was impressed by the students’ professionalism and confidence.”

– Martin Kirkwood, Lift Academy

Another exciting part of the day was Kenzie Academy’s announcement that they are offering up to $300,000 in scholarships for JAG students across Indiana. Reps from Kenzie were on site sharing details for interested students to learn more about their accelerated, project-based learning in the in-demand technology field.

Employers interested in learning more about how they can engage with the future workforce can connect with our Business Solutions team or make a tax-deductible donation like these sponsors did.

Initiative successfully employed more than 6000 young adults in its first three years and continues furthering employer partnerships in 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – January 30, 2019 – Today at the Indianapolis Zoo, Mayor Joe Hogsett and EmployIndy announced this year’s kick off of Project Indy, the administration’s youth jobs program. Since its initial launch in 2016 by Mayor Hogsett, EmployIndy, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and Marion County Commission on Youth, Project Indy has positively impacted thousands of young adults in Marion County by engaging them in the workforce. In 2019, Project Indy will continue to make a difference in the lives of Indianapolis residents by providing work experiences and career exploration opportunities for young adults.

Last year, Mayor Hogsett encouraged local employers to take an active role in offering opportunities to young workers. After reaching annual goals of 1000 jobs obtained in 2016 and 2000 jobs obtained in 2017, a goal of 3000 jobs was exceeded in 2018. The soft skills and work experience learned from these jobs will provide the local economy with a better-prepared workforce of the future.

“Project Indy has grown its reach every year since its inception in 2016 – providing employment opportunities and valuable soft skills for thousands of young residents in Marion County each year,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.  “In 2019, we hope to build upon that momentum, engaging even more young adults through our Summer Jobs Sundays, youth job fairs and Job Ready Indy program.  The valuable skills these future adults learn today will mean a more educated, well-trained and successful workforce for the 21st century.”

Project Indy is available on the mobile app Project Indy Jobs, created by local tech company WorkHere, to help geographically connect users to job opportunities near their location. The Indianapolis Zoo is one of nearly 140 employers who are using Project Indy to make a difference in the life of a young adult. Ashley Lawson, a Jobs for America’s Graduates student from Decatur Central High School, worked at the Indianapolis Zoo during the summer of 2018. While at the Zoo, Ashley improved her communication skills as she interacted daily with guests and has since decided that she wants to major in Education and Zoology when she attends Ball State this fall.

“Ashley is the perfect example of how a summer job can help shape a young adult’s future,” said Judy Palermo, senior manager of public relations at the Indianapolis Zoo. “By engaging with local talent, businesses and attractions like the Zoo are able to positively impact the workforce in Indianapolis and make it possible for young adults to envision the next step in their career.”

Guiding young adults as they take the first step in their career path by gaining valuable work experience is the backbone of Project Indy. It is well-known that oftentimes individuals need to develop soft skills prior to employment, such as learning the importance of professionalism, communication skills, reliability, timeliness, work ethic, and appropriate mindsets at work.

In order to improve those skills, Mayor Hogsett worked with EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber to launch Job Ready Indy in 2018. Job Ready Indy is an employability skills program focused on providing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. If an individual has completed one of the courses, a badge of completion will appear on their Project Indy profile – notifying an interested employer that they are deemed by EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber as someone who demonstrates “job ready” skills important in the workplace.

However, young adults cannot take the first steps to improve their career or community without the help of local employers.

“Young people need to have the support of our business partners to best identify their interests and talents to fill the skills gaps in our target industries,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “By hiring young adults, employers have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our community.”

One of the largest and often overlooked benefits to businesses is that connecting with young adults directly influences the choices they make when continuing their education or career path. Employment through Project Indy is one of many ways that employers can engage with young adults. Through Job Ready Indy and other EmployIndy programs, employers can host site tours, speak about their industry in a classroom or offer job shadowing.

Project Indy is uniquely positioned to connect both the supply and demand of jobs for young adults as employers look to prepare for the summer and beyond.

Employers and job seekers age 16-24 can learn more and sign up at

Posted on December 16th, 2018 in Events, Success Story

The Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation (ICRF) is aware of the impending workforce shortage within the industry and is working with EmployIndy to solve it. ICRF recently partnered with the John H. Boner Community Center to offer a BY Training Class to bolster the construction workforce through free training, culminating with a hiring event attended by businesses that EmployIndy brought to fill their in-demand positions.

ICRF President Chris Price describes BY as “a six-week training program that aims to help people by teaching them the basic skills needed to succeed in the construction industry,” such as using hand tools and power tools, basic safety, construction math, introduction to blueprints, basic rigging, and various soft skills. The course helps job-seekers not only enter the construction industry, but advance to the journeyman-level much quicker than usual. Upon completing the class, participants obtain their NCCER and OSHA10 certifications and CCS cards.

According to ICRF, “the construction industry is uniquely positioned to connect with people of all backgrounds and to provide people living in poverty with a pathway to the middle class.” High paying construction jobs generally have few barriers to entry, which is important for residents in EmployIndy’s strategic target impact areas. The BY training focused on incorporating formerly convicted felons, women, and minorities into the construction workforce, a form of inclusive growth championed by EmployIndy that helps both residents and employers simultaneously.

“I see this as a great entry into the industry” says Janice Bernard, who learned about BY through her WorkOne Indy career navigator. “I hope to position myself for a long-term career in project management or risk management and compliance.”

Other community-based organizations are talking about BY’s success, and Southeast Community Services is already making plans to replicate the training program at their location. Tracy Hartman, an Employer Engagement Manager at EmployIndy, emphasizes the importance of the wrap-around services community centers provide to help potential participants overcome initial barriers many may struggle with. “Not only can community centers host the class,” she says, “but by teaching employability skills and offering barrier-busting funds, they set the class participants up to succeed in their new career.”

For programs like this, EmployIndy serves as an intermediary by helping to broker the relationship between employers, ICRF, and the Boner Center. Tracy Hartman promoted the BY program early on to her contacts at various businesses who became involved by presenting at the class and/or interviewing individuals at the hiring day. She also promoted the events that ICRF hosted leading up to the first day of class and she connected businesses including:

  • Custom Concrete (presented to class and attended hiring fair)
  • DECO Coatings (presented to class)
  • Gaylor Electric (presented to class and attended hiring fair)
  • F. A. Wilhelm Construction (presented to class and attended hiring fair)
  • Shiel Sexton (attended hiring fair)

In order to bring the BY class to the attention of potential participants, EmployIndy shared information with frontline career services workers around Indy and on social media. BY flyers were also directly shared by WorkOne career navigators, promoted at various job fairs and rapid response events, and it was heavily encouraged to organizations working with the re-entry population. The effectiveness of this influence became clear after hearing from participants on hiring day, as all were able to reflect back on learning about the program from a wide array of players in Marion County’s Workforce Ecosystem.

The course had interesting ways of vetting participants for employers. On the first day of class, every participant signed an accountability contract stating that they would always be early for class, remain drug free, and participate actively. Each individual received an accountability score that started at 100 and lost points if they had an unexcused absence or were tardy, as communication was stressed to better simulate a work environment. A list of all participants and their accountability scores were shared with employers at the hiring day.

By the end of the hiring day, every participant received at least one job offer with a starting hourly wage of $17 or more.

For participants like Robert Dowdy, the impact excites him for his future. “For the past 5 years I have been working in retail, and it took that long to work my way up to $19.25 an hour,” he says. “but after this class, I received a job offer starting at $20 an hour, only to go up from there.”

EmployIndy will share information about the next class when the 2019 application goes live – so be sure to follow on social media and sign up for our newsletter. The course is being planned for a February start. Employers interested in teaming up with the BY Training Class by presenting at the class and/or interviewing participants for job openings should connect with Tracy Hartman, EmployIndy’s Employer Engagement Manager focused on the construction industry.