Recent News & Blog

Posted on June 14th, 2018 in Organizational Updates

One of EmployIndy’s three strategic goals is to “Create a Positive Trajectory for Young Adults.” Achieving that goal cannot be done without figuring out how to engage the estimated 30,000 opportunity youth in Marion County, an elusive group of young adults ages 16-24 who have become disconnected from the workforce and education. EmployIndy’s role is to help connect young people to a career and/or education by working alongside local community based organizations to locate and positively engage this population.

Partnering with Finish Line Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis (BGCI), Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), and other local organizations, EmployIndy has establishing the Pivot Re-engagement Center on the Far Eastside, as a strategy to begin formulating relationships through basketball and other positive social activities. Early success affirms EmployIndy’s intention to replicate the model in neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis who are also struggling to engage opportunity youth.

BGCI was chosen as the pilot location not only because they are located in the heart of the Far Eastside, but because they are known as a place of hospitality and actively create a safe environment for participants. EmployIndy’s goal of opening doors for community based organizations leads into how BGCI will take their first step: building relationships and trust among young people.

Relationships between the young adults and the re-engagement facilitators (REFs) spur on conversation about education and career choices. The REFs will mentor young adults and enroll them in a two-week resilience program with a curriculum that is designed to empower individuals to develop the skills that fuel motivation, confidence, persistence, and resilience. If they complete the program, the participants will earn three of the six Job Ready Indy badges (Mindsets, Self-Management, and Social Skills) and will be connected with either employment or CAFE. If they are connected to CAFE, there is an additional opportunity to receive the remaining three Job Ready Indy badges.

“We know they have barriers which is why we are partnering with organizations like Boys and Girls Club and CAFE to give young adults the support they need through education, mentoring, and relationship building.”
– Rev. Rodney Francis, EmployIndy Senior Director of Opportunity Youth

CAFE case managers will determine what the next step should be for the participant: education or employment. They integrate fourteen service delivery elements, a Center for Working Families list of barrier-buster services utilized by the Youth Employment System (YES), and have a youth employment assistant on staff. If the young adult is taking the next step to finding employment, the Youth Employment Assistant is available to help with resume writing, job searching, and connecting a young adult with local job opportunities and/or available certifications.

If the best next step for the participant is to further their education, they will be connected to the Walker Career Center, co-located at CAFE, or Ivy Tech. Walker Career Center creates opportunities for young adults to receive industry-standard career certifications while also completing their HSE. Ivy Tech also provides training and certification programs throughout a variety of industry sectors.

Since the program’s soft-launch on May 21, 2018, the Pivot Re-engagement Center has signed up over 215 individuals who are eligible to receive resilience training. The collective goal is to matriculate 100 young adults from the Re-engagement Center to CAFE, between July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, for more in-depth education and employment services. There is an overwhelming number of young adults who need to be supported in their endeavor to reach that next stage of life.

Businesses are able to partner with the Pivot Re-engagement Center by volunteering for mock interviews, becoming a REF, assisting with professional writing, providing opportunities for work experience, and donating to support program growth. If you would like to get involved, please contact EmployIndy’s Youth Re-engagement Center Manager, Dionne Smith.


Posted on June 8th, 2018 in Organizational Updates

YES Flowchart – Click to Enlarge

The Youth Employment System (YES) is a collection of local organizations that focus on empowering young adults and preparing them for the workforce. Every year, EmployIndy awards grant funding so the providers can continue and grow their programs – inspiring our youth initiative focused on impacting, engaging, and creating opportunities for young adults in Indianapolis, specifically the opportunity youth population.

This year’s grant recipients are as follows: Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), Edna Martin Christian Center, Fathers and Families, Flanner House, Hawthorne, Keys to Work, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, PACE, and TeenWorks.

CAFE – Far Eastside Opportunity Youth Re-Engagement Center
The Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE) is a comprehensive, multi-service center serving Indianapolis’ Far Eastside. Their program is aimed towards providing services for opportunity youth. This program will be a component of the first Pivot Re-engagement Center in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club on the far eastside.

Edna Martin Christian Center – Opportunity Youth Support and Training
Edna Martin is part of the Center for Working Families network in Martindale Brightwood, providing the 14 Elements of Training to opportunity youth in order to grow the workforce and provide them with support and employability skills to succeed.

Fathers and Families – Strong Fathers PASSPORT Program
Fathers and Families’ Strong Fathers PASSPORT Program is a three-week class designed to equip participants with knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to become excellent fathers, husbands, and wage earners.

Flanner House – F.E.E.D. Program
The F.E.E.D. (Farming, Education, Employment, and Distribution) program housed by Flanner House will help opportunity youth develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the area of Logistic and Supply Chain management by managing produce that comes from the Urban Farm.

Hawthorne Community Center – Opportunity Youth Support and Training
Hawthorne will be using the funding to continue and enhance their Center for Working Families workforce development component. This specific delivery model focuses on providing services to underemployed and unemployed community members, with a focus on vulnerable populations, access to mainstream economy, and quality employment.

Keys to Work – Making Work Pay Program
Keys to Work will be serving transitioning opportunity youth through the Make Work Pay program. Each program participant will receive a paid work experience through RecycleForce. When complete, participants will be eligible for temporary work assignment and able to continue education and/or training programs without interruption.

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center – Opportunity Youth Support and Training
Mary Rigg is part of the network of Center for Working Families and will be providing one-on-one employment, financial and community supports coaching, and group workshops for opportunity youth. The young adults will complete Job Ready Indy which includes many of YES’s 14 Elements of Training. Once this is finished, they will be encouraged to enroll in post-secondary education, vocational training, and a variety of work experiences.

PACE – Barrier Buster Support for Past Offenders
PACE will be engaging with opportunity youth who have been charged with a felony offense by delivering education, employment training, job placement, and retention services. While they are providing these employability services, they will be giving them necessary barrier-busting support to achieve gainful employment as well as leadership and life skills to prevent them from re-offending and living successful lives.

TeenWorks – Alumni Services for Opportunity Youth
TeenWorks Alumni Services is a program that will focus on re-engaging with past TeenWorks participants who have become disengaged from education and the workforce. A program manager will facilitate professional development training, coordinate industry experiences, and manage participants’ individual career paths in order to provide them with the necessities to excel in the workforce.


Posted on March 15th, 2018 in Organizational Updates
Employ Up Manager Brian Lawrence with Award

Employ Up Manager Brian Lawrence with Award

In October of 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) distributed “Ready to Work” funding to grantees with a mission to help Americans struggling to maintain employment, move from unemployment to Any Job, Better Job, then ultimately, a Career. This would result in building an impactful and effective workforce ecosystem for cities throughout the nation. (The ABC concept is a cornerstone of EmployIndy’s 5-year strategic plan.)

EmployIndy’s Employ Up program is the product of DOL’s “Ready to Work” grant. Employ Up focuses on working alongside individuals who are unemployed or underemployed by providing them with free skills training, job search support, and access to high-tech companies seeking local talent.

Today, Employ Up was awarded the “Most Innovative Bootcamp” award  by the US Department of Labor at the DOL convening in Washington, D.C. This award was given to the grantee who used a classroom-style career development, skills training bootcamp. Employ Up’s Career Prep course was specifically recognized for the depth of the elements covered, finding ways to implement new technology, and the “new school approach to the job search.” This program found a way to make career development a unique experience for the students by utilizing technology-driven, modern classroom activities such as video mock interviews.

Learn more about the Employ Up program at EmployUp.org.