Identifying and maintaining gainful employment is, for most individuals, a key outcome and goal of recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). It is also one of the most substantial barriers facing individuals in early recovery. Residents who deal with these issues often struggle to proceed through the ABC (A job, Better job, Career) continuum, but the tight labor market Indy is experiencing offers opportunities because local businesses are in such need of skilled workers.
The Indiana Workforce Recovery Initiative, a partnership between the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana, invited EmployIndy to present to recovery coaches and others in the recovery community about the workforce resources available for their clients.
Adam Rothrock of Community Outreach Network Services attended “because I wanted to get connected to more career services for our clients who are all re-entry. There is a lot of insecurity from people with a criminal background, so understanding where we can go for a warm handoff or referral is important so they can find success without getting discouraged.”
During the presentation, attendees cited similar interests to Rothrock, as well as a desire for more stability in programs available, citing difficulty navigating a complex landscape of opportunities.
The business community and individual residents both stand to benefit if recovery coaches can better connect their clients to in-demand education, training, and jobs.
After an intro from Mike Thibideau of the Indiana Chamber and an overview of EmployIndy from our COO Marie Mackintosh, our talent alignment manager Jennifer Walde shared information about how recovery coaches and their clients can connect to WorkOne Indy and its community partner locations, along with the career services offered.
Aside from general information and resources, bringing this group together offered a chance to ask questions and discuss issues as with peers.
One key question that was addressed was “when should someone disclose their felony if they have one?” Conversation around this topic reminded the group that it can be detrimental for a job seeker to lead with that fact as the first detail about themselves during an interview – but similarly it can be detrimental to avoid the topic entirely and never mention it (because of the likelihood of a background check revealing it).
“This is a tricky subject, but ultimately we are talking about human beings and their lives that are impacted by the work we are trying to do here,” said Jennifer Walde. This difficult topic lead to sharing of experiences from attendees around the benefit of honestly sharing information about a felony and explaining the life changes that are in place to ensure a positive path moving forward.
“We hope that a better understanding of the resources and services available will help recovery coaches provide value to their clients,” said Marie Mackintosh. “We are giving a broad overview today, and we look forward to learning more about your specific workforce questions and addressing them in more detail as we continue this partnership with the Indiana Chamber.”
Dozens of students at Arsenal Tech High School who have an interest in starting their own business gathered in the historic courtroom on campus to listen to panelists from a variety of backgrounds talk about their experiences with entrepreneurship. This is because being an entrepreneur is more about having a certain skill set and mindset than anything – and that skill set can be helpful whether it results in founding a business or pursuing a more traditional career.
After a presentation from Kathy England of Regions Bank about the importance of understanding the realities of how financials play a role in starting a business, Joseph Eldridge of 100 Black Men Indianapolis moderated the panel, along with questions from students. Below are some highlights from the panelists:
Chris Hoyt – Founder, Apprenace
“Often, people are searching for how to get to the top when the solution is right next to us. When I found something that I do well, I wanted to see how to turn it into a business – but just because you do something well, does not always mean customers are ready for it. The first thing you need is customers, if you don’t want to fail. Once I had enough people saying ‘yes, I would like to try this,’ then I used their feedback to create my initial product offerings. We did a lot to understand businesses and what their concerns and doubts are so that we are offering something specific rather than ambiguous.”
Melita Carter – Founder & CEO, Natural Born Leaders Academy
“As you are building your business, you don’t have to be good at every aspect of your business, but you have to know a little bit about everything to make sure other people you hire do their job well… As long as you know a little about a lot, to hire the right people, you can be successful. And that comes from reading and reading and researching and researching.”
NaShana Mitchell – Founder, Studio B; Co-founder, Design Bank
“You need to ask yourself why, what, who, where? Why am I committed? What am I offering? Who is my customer that will use this? And where do the transactions take place? Is it a building or online? And as you figure that out, it always circles back to ‘why,’ and you go from there. I had a business where once we made a $10,000 mistake – so after that we asked lots of questions and learned from it to make the right decision next time.”
Aundre G. Hogue
Aundre G. hogue – Regional Vice President, PFS Investments
“You don’t have to be good at everything, but your business does. To go to the next level, it is more of a mindset – too many people never get off the ground because they are scared to fail. I don’t know anyone who is successful who hasn’t failed first. You need to fail forward, and keep moving.”
Dani Williams – Entrepreneur, Creative Leader, Social Media Strategist
“When I decided to become a special media strategist, it is because I found a need… Some people have wants, and some have needs – I have been most successful when I find a need and try to fill it. I am also a big believer in collaboration over competition, so I find ways for entrepreneurs to raise each other up through business.”
“Thank you for doing this. No one has ever done something like this for us.”
– Arsenal Tech student after the event
A group of young adults learned about the realities of “being your own boss” at an entrepreneur panel at the Pivot Re-engagement Center at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. Check out the highlight video to see some of the top takeaways, and click on the image below the video to view the program and learn more about the panelists.
Click to view the event program and learn more about the panelists