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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 projectindy.net


Posted on November 30th, 2018 in Events, Organizational Updates Tags:

WorkOne Indy staff members serve a wide variety of audiences and this week the focus was on veterans. At the JVSG Veterans Conference, Career Navigators and Service Providers from all over the state gathered to learn more about best practices, programs, and tools available to better assist this population. Many of these individuals have served in the armed forces and have passion in their hearts to help other veterans take the next steps to navigate back into the workforce.

“With every military person that I have come across, there is a sense of commitment and dedication to whatever they are working on at the time.”
– DWD Commissioner Fred Payne

Darrell Johnson, Commissioner Payne, and Joshua McDonald

A major point of discussion revolved around the importance of partner organizations working together to invest in these individuals and continue to grow the numbers of veterans served, especially amongst this time where employers are actively seeking individuals with a wide variety of training and qualifications. There were several staff members from service providers who were recognized throughout the state as individuals who excel in this practice, and two of them were from Region 12 (Marion County): Joshua McDonald and Darrell Johnson.

Joshua was one of five recipients of the “Annual Performance Incentive Award,” recognized for his “never take no for an answer” approach and his work in exceeding expectations by reaching out to other organizations in order to retain positions and “going above and beyond” to connect with veterans.

Darrell was given the “Service Provider of the Year Award,” a state-wide award for one individual who excels at work, actively honors all veterans, and “raises the bar” for team members. Darrell has been called upon to share his experience serving veterans and his passion for this population far exceeds job requirements.

EmployIndy is so proud to have WorkOne Indy staff members who go above and beyond to serve the residents of Marion County. With the goal of breaking down barriers for all individuals and providing opportunities and connections so that they can take the next step in their career, service providers and career navigators are the individuals on the front lines who are making things possible.

This recognition is well deserved and the hope is this success will continue to grow as WorkOne Indy services expand into different areas throughout Indianapolis, such as libraries, adult education centers, and Ivy Tech, in order to serve more residents.


Posted on November 29th, 2018 in Organizational Updates, Success Story

WorkOne Indy staff gathered today to reflect on a year of service to Marion County residents, taking time that is normally used for enrichment and teamwork to for a celebration that was both enriching and unifying.

Staff members voted for their peers in four categories to recognize achievement in categories that identified excellence in behind-the-scenes support, positive attitude, professional growth, and overall excellence. Winners were recognized with their nominations read aloud for the group for traits like customer service with complex clients, problem-solving through tricky situations, and their willingness to support colleagues with new ideas and friendly support.

Tori Robinson, a RES Operations Supervisor and winner of the “Brightest Star” award, spoke of one of her clients who was struggling – going through ABE classes to brush up on skills while also dealing with an abusive relationship.  “Every time she came in I encouraged her to continue to apply to jobs, and keep faith,” Tori said. “Weeks later, instead of her coming in with the frown, she came into the office with a big smile just to say that she now found her dream job!”

Tori cited compassion – especially for difficult clients who find success – as a key motivator that drives staff when working daily to help people with their career.

“These sort of events are not just about recognizing hard work – they bring staff together in a way that builds chemistry and understanding so that our staff identify as a team with a common goal.”

Penny Dunning, EmployIndy’s Director of Career Services

As EmployIndy has guided WorkOne Indy to lean into a service model that stresses consistency, staff are encouraged to learn from each other and identify best practices for career navigation of clients. This concept is expanding beyond the walls of the WorkOne Indy offices and into numerous organizations around Indianapolis as EmployIndy continues to build relationships with community partners to regularly house WorkOne Indy staff in places like libraries, Ivy Tech, and adult education providers.

With EmployIndy acting as the central guide and intermediary of Indy’s entire workforce ecosystem, this idea of sharing and recognizing efforts goes beyond WorkOne Indy. Best practices are being identified between service providers, programs, and community partners across the ecosystem – and EmployIndy has developed Ecosystem Enrichment meetings and the Employing Indy newsletter to share these valuable ideas.

But today it was about WorkOne Indy staff like Tori, who earned her award for her willingness to try new ideas and encourage coworkers to innovate. “We all work hard,” she said, “and knowing that we are consciously identifying and learning from each other’s accomplishments is important to help us feel like a cohesive unit.”

Check out photos from the event below, and let EmployIndy know about your workforce development success story so we can feature it.