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Posted on March 27th, 2019 in Success Story Tags:

In the past, job seekers steadily flowed into different career sectors, but trade industries such as construction and manufacturing have recently been overlooked or oversimplified by society – causing a growing need for skilled workers. This caused a labor market gap, prompting the inception of the BY Training program.

BY stemmed from Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation’s (ICRF) youth engagement efforts as they established the Build Your Future program, training volunteers to go into classrooms and share what it is like to work in construction. Overwhelmingly, the takeaway was that students were shocked by their incorrect assumptions and general lack of industry knowledge. This triggered the BY Training idea: a construction program to create in partnership with employers in order to establish and grow a new pool of job ready individuals.  

The BY Training program is the epitome of EmployIndy’s ABC continuum. Many of the students are coming from the construction industry and looking for opportunities to grow. This program arms them with the ability to transition from Any Job to a Better Job or from a Better Job to a Career.

In this seven-week program with twelve classroom hours each week, students learn the reason behind different safety tips, get ten hours of onsite training, study the NCCER curriculum for an apprenticeship program, and receive their OSHA 10 – leaving them workforce-ready and competitive applicants upon graduation. What makes this program so unique, is that BY Training prepares their students for more than just construction.

These individuals graduate with the knowledge of different interview tips and the importance of soft skills, arming them to be more successful once they leave the classroom. “Going into this I really didn’t think I’d learn much. I’ve been through several classes and I thought I would get the same information,” said Jeffery Ware Jr., a recent BY Training graduate. “I was wrong – what you get out of this class you can’t learn from experience.”

EmployIndy has played a significant role in connecting BY Training to local employers through facilitating partnerships for host locations within this community. “We wanted to establish the value and demand for this program,” said Tracy Hartman, EmployIndy’s Employer Engagement Manager focused on partnering with employers in the construction, manufacturing, logistics, and engineering industries.

“This industry is seeking motivated and qualified job seekers, so we utilized our connections between employers and community partners to make that possible.”

Tracy Hartman, EmployIndy Employer Engagement Manager

With EmployIndy’s help, ICRF hosted several employer and community-based organization convenings to shape the vision of their program.

Each week, local employers come into the classroom to teach students about their company, providing these individuals opportunities to ask questions and learn about what businesses most value in workers. Upon graduation, BY Training hosts a hiring day, providing opportunities for the students and employers to engage one-on-one. What truly shows the impact of this program is the fact that all 20 graduates received at least one job offer by the end of the course.

“Employers trust our program,” said Katie Cordell, BY Training Program Director. “It is known for not only arming them with the necessary certifications, but we shape people to be job ready – we really want every graduate to leave learning so much more than the basics of construction.”

With this passion and momentum of programmatic success, the ICRF has plans to expand BY Training statewide by the end of the year. Cordell highlights the importance of starting by choosing communities that make the most sense, meaning:

  • A supply of individuals who are looking for a career, not just a job
  • Identifying employer partners who are willing to invest in these participants
  • Discovering an adult basic education and community partner to assist in education growth
  • A large amount of jobs that are available in the area
  • Making sure there is sufficient access to public transportation if necessary

“I cannot say enough about this class. I want to thank all the staff, the talks we have had and them being great people in general. There are a lot of people who I know really want me to succeed,” said Anthony Merritt Jr., another recent BY Training graduate.

Learning the soft skills and receiving the required certifications, all of the graduates have the necessary tools to excel in their career path. The next course is scheduled to start at MSD Washington Township on April 16, and classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Interested students can apply online, and interested business partners can contact Tracy Hartman of EmployIndy.


Posted on December 19th, 2018 in Success Story Tags: ,

LaKeshia Hardy was raised in a single-parent home and became a mother just after graduating high school. She was on welfare in her younger years, but even in hard times strived to stay positive – she knew that she wanted more for herself and her family. She began to look for steady work and LaKeshia filled out a simple application on one sheet of paper and landed a job on the assembly line at Carrier. Over the years, she realized she wanted to be challenged in a role she could achieve if she gained experience beyond her high school education.

Initially, this job changed her world. LaKeshia was able to finally get ahead. She started working overtime to pay off bills, earned seniority to take better shifts, and reached a point where she was saving money. She and her husband worked different shifts to accommodate their children, and life was good – busy and stressful, but good.

Suddenly, after 13 years, Carrier announced they were moving hundreds of positions to Mexico. LaKeshia had built a life around a job that was going away and now had the opportunity to make this change she had been imagining. As a Carrier worker, she had a limited skill set and she knew with further training and education she would be able to achieve whatever goals she set her mind to – and inspire her children to dream big along the way.

“I had been making money – it was a job – but it never felt like a career,” says LaKeshia. “Going back to school, that felt like a path to a career.”

Interested in learning about a new career options, she took full advantage of meeting with a WorkOne Indy career navigator. LaKeshia was informed about different manufacturing training and certification opportunities, detailed in materials created by CAEL specifically for Carrier workers. But she decided to go down a different path and make choices that would directly impact the future of her career.

As she decided to utilize this opportunity to make a transformative change, her career navigator did a thorough analysis of her skills and interests, urging LaKeshia to hone in on a career that she would love. Because of her own life experience, the idea of helping troubled high-schoolers overcome barriers, struggles, and emotional difficulties was a passion she wanted to pursue. Then, identifying social work as a correlating field of study, she was connected to Ivy Tech and enrolled in an associate’s degree in human services.

Working towards her goal, LaKeshia is set to graduate in May 2019 with intent to receive her bachelor’s in social work from IUPUI. She is involved with her department’s charitable student group, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, made the Dean’s List, and is eager to be the first in her family to earn a degree. “The services available have not failed me, and what you put in is what you will get out of it,” she says. “I can’t wait to walk across that stage.”


Posted on December 19th, 2018 in Success Story Tags:

Emauri’a Davis transferred between several high schools before enrolling at Arsenal Tech in November 2017, about halfway through her senior year. With this transition, her lack of stability was taking a toll on her self-confidence.

“Before I started Tech I was going through a lot,” said Emauri’a. “I went to North Atlanta before that, [then] I went to Franklin Township. Tech was a different environment for me. I really just stayed to myself, went to class, and went home.”

When Emauri’a enrolled at Arsenal Tech, her guidance counselor placed her into their Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program where she facilitated relationships with her specialist and other JAG staff which made it possible for Emauri’a to connect with Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc. (STVI) where she started as an intern in November of 2018.

“When I entered JAG, they taught me a lot of things that my old schools weren’t teaching me: they taught me how to do resumes, and cover letters, and thank you letters,” said Emauri’a. “JAG really opened up my mind more… personally, it gave me more confidence and patience.”

Emauri’a at her desk at STVI

Since she started her internship at Stop the Violence, Emauri’a has already gained valuable professional experience – she has attended two conferences, organized data from surveys for reports, coordinated volunteer email communications, and learned to edit their website using WordPress. In addition, STVI staff are working with Emauri’a to add these experiences to her resume and provide constructive feedback to help her grow.

“Without JAG and EmployIndy, we wouldn’t be able to do as much as we’ve done,” says Beatrice Beverly, Stop the Violence Indianapolis Program and Volunteer Director. As a small nonprofit with limited funding, STVI relies on JAG’s work experience funding to provide an immersive learning environment to Emauri’a and three other interns. By investing in skill-building experiences for young adults, EmployIndy is cultivating positive career trajectories for these young adults and setting the table for stronger workforce in Marion County.

The state of Indiana allocates funds annually to EmployIndy for programs like JAG, but donations make it possible for JAG to grow and for more students like Emauri’a to participate. It takes $2900 to sponsor a work experience and improve the future career of a young adult so they can have a positive impact right here in Indy.

“Honestly I don’t have a ‘dream job,’” says Emauri’a with a confident smile. “I know that I will become a criminal justice lawyer, and I will also own a cupcake shop.”