Recent News & Blog

Posted on January 9th, 2019 in Press Releases

Program aims to increase postsecondary enrollment and shrink skills gap

January 9, 2019 – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indy Achieves announced a new program aimed at recruiting mentors to engage with, support, and inspire Marion County students in order to ensure high school graduation and a successful transition into college. The Indy Achieves Mentor Program will also connect mentors with adults who have graduated from high school and are working to attain a postsecondary degree or certification. As part of the announcement, Morales Group pledged to sign on as a premier volunteer partner, initially enrolling 10 employees to mentor 50 students.

“Postsecondary education can be daunting for any student,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “That’s why Indy Achieves is seeking to provide millions of dollars in scholarships and grants to low-income students, helping to lower barriers and increase the number of Marion County residents qualified for the jobs of the 21st century. I’m calling on community leaders to become a mentor today and support the next generation as they seek a brighter future for themselves and their family.”

From left: Seth Morales, Jackie Morales, Angie Carr Klitzsch, Mayor Joe Hogsett, Tom Morales, Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, Matt Impink

Indy Achieves is a comprehensive program established by Mayor Hogsett to ensure every Indianapolis resident has a pathway to a postsecondary credential or degree. The mentoring initiative will connect 500 high school seniors with 100 civic and business leaders from around the city. Over the next year, Indy Achieves, which is housed at EmployIndy, will work to provide millions of dollars in scholarships and grants to low-income students in order to close the skills gap. This work is in conjunction with EmployIndy’s ongoing efforts to train Indianapolis residents and place them in high-wage, high-demand jobs in Marion County. Indianapolis needs an additional 215,000 individuals with job-ready credentials in order to close the skills gap by 2027.

“At a time when we’re telling Hoosiers that education beyond high school is more important than ever, we must ensure that they are prepared and can afford it,” said Indiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “Indy Achieves addresses both of these issues and complements the work we do at the Commission.”

“Research tells us that one of the greatest predictors of postsecondary success is the ability of a student to name a mentor in his or her life. Unfortunately, one in three students grow up without a mentor of any kind,” said Matt Impink, executive director of Indy Achieves. “At Indy Achieves, we will equip dedicated volunteer leaders in our community with not only the tools and resources they need to ensure students remain on task and meet deadlines, but also the platform to cheer students on towards success.”

Indy Achieves cites “summer melt” as one of the reasons this program is needed. Research finds that one in five college-bound high school graduates who have been accepted to and intend to enroll in college fail to show up on the first day of class due to unforeseen challenges they encounter during the summer months. This jumps to two in five students in underserved areas. For this reason, the mentor program begins during a senior student’s spring semester and runs through his or her first semester of college, helping them navigate not only the processes needed to enroll in college, but helping them get settled and get off to a solid start.

The time commitment for mentors is low, requiring only one hour per month for 10 months to change the lives of youth and adults in Marion County. Mentors assist students in their move to higher education at either Ivy Tech Community College or IUPUI through both scripted and customized text-message and email-based communication from Indy Achieves. Examples of messages include reminders about FAFSA deadlines, answering questions students and their families may have regarding postsecondary education and providing general encouragement. Students receive the messages on their cell phones and respond like a normal text-message conversation, while mentors use an online portal for all communication.

Local businesses like Morales Group, an Indianapolis-based staffing agency that has placed more than 50,000 Hoosiers in positions throughout the Midwest, are eager to get their employees involved.

“I was blessed to have a few mentors in high school that saw something in me that I didn’t quite know was there yet, and they guided me to make the leap to college because my parents didn’t come from a higher education background,” said Tom Morales, co-founder and CEO of Morales Group. “The small pushes of these mentors transformed my life trajectory, and now I want to ensure that we use Morales Group as a platform to pay it forward to other young people. We were thrilled to be the first business to sign on with the Indy Achieves program. This type of mentoring is critical for the students to make it through the summer into their first day of classes,” said Morales.

Business and civic leaders interested in volunteering to be a mentor can sign up on the Indy Achieves website at www.indyachieves.org/mentor. Students sign up for the program through their guidance counselors or by filling out basic information on the Indy Achieves website. All mentors will go through a background check.

The mentor program is one of several employer opportunities through EmployIndy, which can also help businesses engage with young adults, provide soft skills training to workers, and source talent in Marion County.

In May, Mayor Hogsett announced the Indy Achieves program as a way to improve access to postsecondary educational opportunities for all residents and to raise Indianapolis’ college attainment number to 65% by the year 2027. Indy Achieves is working to increase on-time FAFSA completion and 21st Century Scholar enrollment, administering the Indy Promise Scholarship, and providing wraparound services to Marion County residents pursing a postsecondary degree.

For more information about Indy Achieves or the mentor program, visit www.indyachieves.org.

 


Posted on December 6th, 2018 in Events, Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – December 6, 2018 – Today a group of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) students from Decatur Central and George Washington high schools visited Genesys, a software-driven customer experience-centered organization on Indy’s Northwest Side, to learn more about the technology industry. JAG is a state-affiliated program that EmployIndy guides for 14 high schools here in Marion County, designed to provide opportunities for high school juniors and seniors to explore and establish career options and goals. Company tours like these aid students’ growth and offer a look into potential careers as they plan for their future and transition to post-secondary education and/or the local workforce.

“We have to attract students earlier and what’s even more important is that students are open to opportunity out there and they know they can achieve it,” says Todd Pedersen, VP of Corporate Affairs at Genesys, who coordinated the day of facility tours and staff presentations. “There doesn’t have to be a perfect path through software engineering, there are a lot of ways to end up in a technology company.”

The students learned about the mission of Genesys, their passion for software enhancement and their community impact as they travelled through the building, heard from panelists, and engaged one-on-one with Genesys employees. As the Indianapolis tech industry continues to grow, large and small companies alike are taking time to teach and influence young adults who are the future of the workforce.

“I liked this visit so much that it actually has influenced my own career interests from just graphic design to doing what they do here,” said Joseph Trisdale, a junior at Decatur Central High School. “I thought, ‘hey that’s really cool – I could work in tech and still get to interact with people,’ and that would be perfect for me since I am that kind of sociable person. I want to be there to help solve problems people have and be able to fix problems fast, just like they do here.”

Through JAG and other programs like Job Ready Indy and Project Indy, EmployIndy partners with local businesses that can teach young adults about available opportunities and career paths in high-demand industries.

Today’s event provided these JAG students with a better understanding of the what their future could look like, right here locally. When it comes time to seek out a career, students will remember immersive experiences like business tours, job shadowing, internships, and part-time jobs to make more informed decisions that align with their interests and talents.

Is your business interested in similarly connecting with young adults? Connect with our Business Solutions team to learn more!

Decatur Central JAG students

Touring the Genesys campus

JAG students networking with Genesys UI designer

“Technology is a way of the future.”

The fun pic – with some of the Genesys team

 

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About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 21 business, civic, education, and non-profit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually.

About Genesys
Genesys® powers more than 25 billion of the world’s best customer experiences each year. Our success comes from connecting employee and customer conversations on any channel. Every day, 11,000 companies in more than 100 countries trust our #1 customer experience platform to drive great business outcomes and create lasting relationships. Combining the best of technology and human ingenuity, we build solutions that mirror natural communication and work the way you think. Our industry-leading solutions foster true omnichannel engagement because they perform equally well across channels, on-premises and in the cloud. Experience communication as it should be: fluid, instinctive and profoundly empowering. Visit genesys.com on TwitterFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn and the Genesys blog.


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – November 20, 2018 – Today nine young adults completed a training program that gives them the power and the tools to change their lives. The Pivot Re-Engagement Center, a partnership between EmployIndy, Finish Line Boys and Girls Club, and Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), celebrated their first cohort of the “Power Huddle,” a mindset and employability skills course that prepares individuals for their next step in establishing their career.

Located at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on North Post Road, the Pivot Re-Engagement Center is one of many ways that EmployIndy has focused efforts on the Far Eastside, a target area of their strategic plan where unemployment and poverty remain higher than the rest of Marion County. EmployIndy launched the Pivot Re-Engagement Center with a goal of registering 100 young adults in 2018. Since the soft launch in May 2018, 740 individuals have signed up. Not only does this signify that there is a need for a safe space, but there is also a desire in these young adults to grow.

“They go through [the Power Huddle] not knowing it is a huge stepping stone for them,” said Jamarro Johnson, YES Youth Employment Specialist at CAFE. “When we meet and I address the steps to make this possible, they realize that their dreams aren’t as far off as they once imagined.”

The first Power Huddle cohort

This is why the Power Huddle is a crucial first step to finding sustainable employment, discovering their passions, or engaging in post-secondary training and education. Once through the Power Huddle, CAFE is engaging participants by providing assistance in adult basic education enrollment and guiding young adults into their career through a variety of career exploration and service elements. For Pivot participants, these opportunities provide a gateway for each individual to pursue his/her dreams.

“It’s all about transformation for us,” said Rodney Francis, EmployIndy Senior Director of Opportunity Youth Initiatives. “If they are self-motivated and learn to establish a vision and goals for themselves, then they have a better chance at success.”

The participants come from a variety of backgrounds, but all share the same dream of creating a bright future for themselves. Daysha, 22, is a Power Huddle graduate who started her education at Indiana University in 2014, but then had to drop out for financial and transportation reasons. She decided to move back to Indianapolis and enroll at IUPUI. A little over a year ago, Daysha resigned from IUPUI for similar reasons but also had a realization: “Not only could I not pay for my own wifi, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where to apply myself.”

Jayden, another participant, is 17 and graduating early from Lawrence North High School. He finished all of his classes this past summer, and this fall he has been working at McDonald’s while waiting to walk at his high school graduation in December. Jayden has always wanted to become a carpenter but not looked into local training opportunities, so he was not sure how he could reach this next step.

“When [Pivot instructors] were talking, they were all saying things I needed to hear to build my own self-confidence,” said Jayden. “Instead of always underestimating myself, I had a real potential to go and achieve my goals. It helped me to see myself from a different perspective and know that I am capable of doing what I dream.”

This sentiment was the resounding echo from the students. The Pivot Power Huddle opened their eyes to see where their passions align with their skills and current workforce needs in high-demand industries.

Since completing the Power Huddle, Daysha has decided to not only re-enroll at IUPUI and get her bachelor’s degree in Communications, but she wants to apply for the Peace Corps by next year so she can work overseas with youth. In addition, Jayden has looked into the best carpentry courses and wants to start his own business once he has achieved his certification and established a solid amount of reliable clientele.

“I think this program truly has the potential to impact young lives on the eastside,” said Erik Davenport, the Pivot Re-Engagement Center Director. “Even in the past two weeks, I have noticed such a change in their mindsets. You can really see the turning point when they believe their dreams are reachable.”

EmployIndy’s goal is that all young adults will understand their potential to excel personally and professionally. With an estimated 30,000 young adults in Marion County who need to reconnect to postsecondary education and better careers, the stakes are high. However, EmployIndy believes that progress has to happen at an individual and granular level, and these nine individuals have begun the journey to improving their lives by learning more about themselves, their passions, and their potential for success.

“I want to recognize all of the Pivot employees: They do such a good job making sure everyone has the resources they need, and you can genuinely tell that they care about you. I know that they don’t have to do what they do and we all really appreciate it,” said Daysha.

The second Power Huddle cohort will last one week and begin on December 3rd. Info sessions will take place November 27th – 30th daily at 11:30am at the  Finish Line Boys & Girls Club. Plans are in the works to offer employer tours and invite businesses to come and inform potential participants about their organizational and hiring needs.

For more information about the Pivot Re-Engagement Center or the Power Huddle program, please contact Rodney Francis: rfrancis@nullemployindy.org

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About EmployIndy  
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 21 business, civic, education, and non-profit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private, and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually.

About Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis
Since 1893, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis have served the Indianapolis community. With five facility-based Clubs and five school-based sites, BGCI serves nearly 7,000 youth annually in the areas of career exploration and educational enhancement, citizenship and leadership, the arts, and health and fitness. For additional information, please call (317) 920-4700 or visit www.BGCINDY.org. Follow Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis @BGCINDY and “Like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/bgcindy.

About Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE)
CAFE’s mission is to offer direct aid to residents of the Far Eastside who are in desperate need. CAFE offers programming that supports youth and seniors alike, all with a continued focus on improving the quality of life for those who live, work and worship in the Far Eastside community. One of CAFE’s leading programs is their Center for Working Families, which helps transition families from living paycheck to paycheck to investing in their future – not only getting a job, but a career; not only meeting expenses, but saving for their first home.

Pivot, Power Huddle, and EmployIndy staff

Cohort 1 with shoes provided by Finish Line

Cohort 1 finding out about Kanye shoes from Finish Line

Ashayla Spearman

Cameron Kimmons

Daysha Beck

Dezmond Johnson

Jayden Dixon

Jeffery Ezel

Richard Berry

Tamia McNary