Recent News & Blog

116 Indianapolis Jobs for America’s Graduates students prove employability skills to community leaders and employers at JAG Career Development Conference

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – February 11, 2020 – Today 116 Indianapolis high school juniors and seniors met at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites for the regional Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Career Development Conference. Each student utilized the employability skills they have learned in their JAG classrooms over the course of the past year, competing in challenges such as chapter marketing campaigns, launching entrepreneurship plans, providing creative solutions, demonstrating critical thinking and employability skills, and more.

“We are proud to partner with and host the JAG Career Development Conference,” said Joe Melton, General Manager at Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites. “Our hotel is excited to be introducing young people to all that the hospitality industry has to offer through work experiences and job shadowing opportunities. The JAG Career Development Conference is one way that young people are able explore their skills and prepare for their future – and we are glad to play a role in that.”

The backbone behind JAG is preparing students for the workforce by introducing them to not only employability skills, but by introducing them to different industries, employers, and work experiences. The JAG Career Development Conference is an opportunity for students demonstrate their skills, with two individuals from each competition attending the State Career Development Conference next month. In addition to recognizing these students’ successes, six individuals were chosen as Outstanding Seniors, an award recognizing select high school seniors who have gone above and beyond in community involvement and are viewed as leaders among their peers.

“Before JAG I was very quiet and lacked basic skills that would prevent me from becoming successful,” said Zoey Lewis, Outstanding Senior from Indianapolis Metropolitan High School. “Now JAG has helped me prepare for my life during and after high school. It has developed me into a more equipped student by building my communication and leadership skills, so I am prepared for college and life after high school. I have been exposed to people who work in different career paths, received help throughout the college process, and built confidence in myself. As a first-generation college student, I’m not sure that I would have pushed myself to continue without the support of JAG.”

Even more than learning about employability skills, Zoey has become the JAG Career Association President and Valedictorian of her class. This opportunity provides stronger pathways for young people as they explore career opportunities and build confidence in who they are and what they can do.

“JAG helps students not only while they are in high school, but prepares them for what comes next,” said Erika Cheney, director of in-school youth at EmployIndy. “That is the vision behind the Career Development Conference – that students will be able to demonstrate their skills to prove to employers and themselves that they can do big things.”

A special recognition to our Gold Level Sponsor, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 481 (IBEW Local 481). Thank you for your generous contribution and support of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program.


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – January 30, 2020 – Today Mayor Joe Hogsett kicked off the fifth year of connecting young people to summer employment opportunities through Project Indy, the mayor’s youth jobs program. In partnership with EmployIndy, the program has expanded throughout Indianapolis – with 175 employers actively posting jobs on the portal and nearly 8,000 youth connected to job opportunities.

“When we launched Project Indy in 2016, it was with the intention of removing barriers to opportunity and expanding the number of options for Indianapolis young people. When we launched the unified location-based job board we saw opportunities address transportation challenges young people face, while also investing in small businesses that act as the backbone of Indianapolis neighborhoods,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We want this program to have a lasting impact on our city and the residents who live here.”

Project Indy impacts all residents in Marion County – both directly and indirectly – by:

  • Providing employers with an eager, entry-level workforce;
  • Increasing employability skills for young people which will help them as they progress in their careers; and
  • Growing community collaboration, business capacity, and overall stability.

“EmployIndy has made a promise to the community to provide resources impacting young people and the neighborhoods in which they live,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy. “By working together we are establishing a pipeline of individuals who not only have the employability skills to excel in the future and contribute to the economic growth of the city, but are able to meet employer demand for talent now.”

Tea’s Me Cafe Indy is a prime example of a small business that puts forth an effort to impact their neighborhood. Located in Fall Creek Place, Tea’s Me hosts many community events and puts extended efforts towards hiring Indianapolis young people as baristas. Beyond simply hiring these young people, Tamika Catchings, owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy, strongly believes that through this process individuals grow skills needed to excel in the future as they further progress in the working world.

“We are super excited to join the mayor to celebrate the kickoff of Project Indy’s youth and young adult hiring season,” said Tamika Catchings, owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy. “At Tea’s Me Indy, we don’t take lightly being a part of our young people’s journey to reach all of their dreams and goals. It is our goal to prepare them to reach new heights and through our Mayor and Project Indy’s commitment, we are able to do just that.”

Employment opportunities available through Project Indy directly impact the growth of a continuum of support for Indianapolis young people to not only grow as individuals, but steer towards future career opportunities. These opportunities create a positive trajectory for youth which will have a lasting impact on not only the next generation, but on Indianapolis as a whole. Regardless of company size or resources, every organization can make a difference in their community through Project Indy. Start your journey today at projectindy.net.


Power Huddle graduates thirty-eight young people who move onto education, employment, and job training

INDIANAPOLIS – 26 November 2019 – Today at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club, 38 young people will be recognized for completing the YES Indy Power Huddle program, a two-week intensive training where individuals learn how they can change their future trajectory as well as a variety of employability skills that will help them take those next steps. This is the largest cohort to have completed the program, co-located at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis and at Eastern Star Church, both on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis.

The Far Eastside is one of the five target areas as identified by EmployIndy and the City of Indianapolis as having the highest rates of crime and poverty throughout Indianapolis. In Central Indiana alone there are over 30,000 Opportunity Youth, young adults, ages 16 – 24, who have disengaged from secondary education or graduated but disconnected from the workforce. With the gap in middle skills jobs that currently exist in our workforce ecosystem as identified by DWD, these youth and young adults present an opportunity for our community wellbeing and their personal growth, health and success. To re-engage this audience, EmployIndy has focused on creating a positive trajectory for youth in Marion County, thus launching YES Indy REC in 2018.

YES Indy REC was piloted at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club as a safe space for young people to interact, play basketball, and meet adults who are willing to mentor them. While this is the forward-facing piece of the YES Indy REC, it goes far beyond that as mentors encourage individuals to partake in the Power Huddle to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

“We are proud to play a role in changing the lives of young people throughout Marion County,” said Marty Posch, President of the Finish Line Youth Foundation, an organization that has been a strong advocate and supporter of the Power Huddle and YES Indy REC since program inception. “Located just down the street, we have the opportunity to make a difference in our community thus impacting our future workforce and Indianapolis as a whole.”

Twenty-two of the 38 individuals recognized today completed the Power Huddle through the YES Indy CommunityCorps program administered through Groundwork Indy. These young people were enrolled in a nine-week paid work experience during which they also received eighteen hours of socio-emotional trauma informed wellness training and participated in mindset training (Power Huddle).

These activities helped the Opportunity Youth to develop their employability skills by working on community projects to improve community food access, health, aesthetics, safety and facility maintenance supports, while also receiving adult mentoring, career navigation, life coaching, job readiness training, adult education services, alongside trauma informed social and emotional violence prevention counseling.

“These young people are the ones who persisted,” said Rev. Rodney Francis, Senior Director of Opportunity Youth at EmployIndy. “They made the decision to make a change in their life and took the steps to get there. The most difficult piece of engaging Opportunity Youth isn’t just getting them in the door. In the last year we have reached 1508 young people through the YES Indy REC, 147 have signed up for the Power Huddle, and, including this group, only 97 have completed the program. They have to decide for themselves that they want to change.”

After completing the program, the young adults will be enrolled in YES Indy where they are connected to a career navigator who will offer support and guidance as they enroll in education and training or transition into the workforce. Once they are part of YES Indy, other resources are available, such as transportation, financial guidance, temporary housing, re-entry services, counseling, and more.

“This course has helped me view myself as a strong queen,” said Taleiah Gamble, a graduate of Power Huddle cohort nine. “Before I started the Power Huddle, I felt drained and useless until Mr. S, our instructor, explained to me that I should always have a growing mindset and not a fixed mindset. A growing mindset is constantly grasping knowledge and a fixed mindset is basically a locked mindset. I learned that I do not need to settle for less and now I’m preparing to become a Certified Medical Assistant and starting class on January 9th.”

The next Power Huddle cohort will be ten weekdays from December 9 – 19, 10am – noon at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club. Registration is currently taking place so please direct any interested young people to the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club, Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 2:00pm. To learn more about YES Indy REC and YES Indy programming and resources, visit yesindy317.org.