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Posted on March 19th, 2021 in Events, Press Releases, Uncategorized

2021 JAG Career Development Conference celebrates high school student’s career readiness

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – March 17, 2021 – Today the Indianapolis Jobs for America’s Graduates Career Development Conference took place virtually, for the very first time. Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a program for high school juniors and seniors that helps arm them with the workforce development skills to be successful after high school – whether they choose to persist onto postsecondary or pursue a career. This annual conference provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their career readiness skills that they learn throughout the school year.

“During the 2020-2021 school year, the JAG Indy programs continued to excel in delivering successes for participants even in the midst of the pandemic, serving 827 students in fifteen Indianapolis schools,” said Erika Cheney, VP of K-12 at EmployIndy. “Like all other programs, we have needed to adapt our local model to support students virtually.”

With hundreds of students participating, the JAG Career Development Conference would traditionally be a full-day in-person event with high school students demonstrating career readiness skills in front of volunteer judges. Some of the competitions include critical thinking, financial literacy, employability skills, entrepreneurship, public speaking, outstanding seniors, and more.

“It is exciting to witness the drive and passion that so many of these students demonstrate during the competition,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy who spoke at this morning’s event. “These young people are learning employability skills that will last them far beyond high school and prepare them for future employment.”

Many organizations partner with JAG throughout the school year, hosting events and presenting in classrooms. This year the 2021 JAG Career Development Conference is offering a new award to the community partner who made a difference for students and impact in the community. This year the award is given to Beatrice Beverly with Stop the Violence Indianapolis.

Thank you to our 2021 sponsors who made this event possible and congratulations to all the participants for a successful virtual event and to the winners who stood out above their peers in demonstrating employability skills and career readiness success.

Gold Sponsors: Saint Joseph’s College of Marian University; B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains

Bronze Sponsor: Securitas Security Systems

Award Recipients

Chapter Marketing Campaign:

  1. George Washington High School
  2. McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  3. Decatur Central High School

Entrepreneurship Plan:

  1. Arsenal Technical High School

Career Presentation:

  1. Faith Akinwande – Decatur Central High School
  2. Andrea Romero – Shortridge High School
  3. Samantha Rudge – Beech Grove High School

Creative Solutions:

  1. John Diaz – Warren Central High School
  2. Jared Wolfe – Indiana School for the Deaf
  3. Saul Torres – Decatur Central High School

Critical Thinking:

  1. Lia Burton – Decatur Central High School
  2. Aireyona Mitchell – Shortridge High School
  3. Prince Ndahiriwe – Decatur Central High School

Employability Skills:

  1. Gabriela Perez – Shortridge High School
  2. Anita Martin – Arsenal Technical High School
  3. Grace Gill – Decatur Central High School

Digital Invitation:

  1. Jahaira Santos-Trujillo – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  2. Karen Bautista Tellez – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
  3. Paola Avila Hernandez – McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology

Financial Literacy:

  1. Gunnar Wiser – Decatur Central High School
  2. Jade Tien – Warren Central High School
  3. Felicity Walters – Decatur Central High School

Public Speaking:

  1. Joanna Nunez-Mancilla – George Washington High School
  2. Janice Rivera – Decatur Central High School
  3. Emma Teachman – Beech Grove High School

Writing Skills:

  1. Kayden Kimbrough – Beech Grove High School
  2. Anab Jamal – Decatur Central High School
  3. Sharon Oyatayo – Decatur Central High School

Outstanding Senior:

  1. Anita Martin – Arsenal Technical High School
  2. Shelby Gosser – Decatur Central High School
  3. Dieu Merci Mfaume – George Washington High School

You can learn more about the Jobs for America’s Graduates program here.

9 March 2021 – Indianapolis – Today launches the fifth year of the Project Indy Youth Jobs initiative. Through the Project Indy digital job search platform, thousands of Indianapolis young people are connected to jobs each year. This tool is used as a resource by over 100 employers as they seek to fill their full-time and part-time positions and youth as they look for employment, particularly during the summer months. As with all other things, this initiative and the young people it supports have seen the repercussions of the COVID-19 impact.

In 2020 over 32% of young adults 16-24 were employed in the hospitality and tourism industry – one that has suffered greatly from the pandemic. While this is felt globally, Indianapolis particularly struggled with a large portion of the local economy relying on the success of those industries.

“Project Indy has been incredibly successful over the past five years, connecting young people with jobs and skill-building opportunities in industries across Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, Project Indy will be a part of our city’s economic comeback from the pandemic, boosting our hospitality and tourism workforces and contributing to overall job growth. And it will help employers as well, as young workers are exposed to new career paths in our city’s core industries. It truly is a win-win.”

Project Indy is a location-based, job search platform connecting young adults to local employers. With a large majority of the hospitality industry traditionally staffed by youth and young adults, major sporting events like the ones Indianapolis will host this March provide opportunities for youth to not only make money, but to obtain important job skills that will help them be successful as they progress through the workforce.

“Indianapolis is fortunate to be hosting upcoming basketball tournaments on the national stage,” said Department of Tourism, Event and Sports Management Chair at IUPUI, Brian Krohn. “Not only will the buzz positively impact our economy, there will also be many part-time jobs now available for young workers to assist with the influx of visitors and our hope that this will provide the opportunity for many of our local businesses to open their doors again.”

In Indianapolis, sports and events have always been tools to drive economic growth – and the tournaments will be no exception.

“Events like GenCon, FDIC, and now March Madness, held at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium are often considered to be what defines Indianapolis. I’ve always maintained that it’s the people behind events like these that make our city great,” said Andy Mallon, Executive Director, Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. “By hiring through Project Indy, employers in all different industries, including hospitality, have the opportunity to invest in the next generation of young ambassadors for Indianapolis.”

By offering jobs throughout Indianapolis, Project Indy will be able to service events like those taking place this month. As youth are gainfully employed, they learn additional skills that will help them as they progress through their career.

“The ongoing impact of hiring a young person goes far beyond the day-to-day job responsibilities. What they learn will influence who they are as a person, how they grow in their soft and hard skills, and what industries they choose to go into when they formally progress into the workforce,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “This provides us as employers an opportunity to make what we know will be beneficial investments both short- and long-term as we impact someone today and arm them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.”

Employers can sign up today to have their positions listed on the Project Indy job search platform at

Posted on February 2nd, 2021 in Uncategorized Tags: ,

Outlines Indy Achieves and EmployIndy’s plan to assist Indianapolis residents in experiencing economic growth and mobility through pursuit of postsecondary education

View Executive Summary | View Strategic Plan

2 February 2021 – Indianapolis – Today Indy Achieves officially launched their new, three-year strategic plan with the continued vision to make postsecondary education attainment a reality for all Marion County residents to enable economic mobility and future prosperity. This strategic plan builds upon the previous plan and includes the following priority areas: Access; Completion; Career Connection; Adult Learners; and Governance, Communications, and Budget.

“As of the end of 2020, over half of the Marion County residents who applied for unemployment insurance had no postsecondary degrees or credentials,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “In order to bridge this economic supply/demand gap and remove barriers to education, we need to establish an increased flow of information between residents and institutions, increase support for students as they transition to and through postsecondary education, and create a clear pathway for adults to skill-up and complete industry-recognized credentials or degrees.”

The Indy Achieves Strategic Plan focuses on creating a seamless transition for Indianapolis residents of all ages to transition to higher education and successfully progress into the workforce after completion. Over the past two years, Indy Achieves has focused on traditional pathways to postsecondary education, providing Promise Scholarships and Completion grants to over 1200 students at Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis and IUPUI. With this growing plan, the focus will expand to adult learners, leveraging existing relationships built through 21st Century Scholars, adults who attended Ivy Tech or IUPUI but did not complete their degree, and employees at employer partner companies seeking further education.

“By increasing their focus on serving the adult population, Indy Achieves is taking steps to support our residents, neighbors, and peers. The individual impact of this approach will last far beyond the pandemic, as people learn new skills and, ultimately, experience economic mobility as they have increased opportunity to transition into high-demand, higher-paying jobs,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Indy Achieves will continue partnering with Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUI, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Indianapolis middle and high schools, and local employers to streamline a career readiness approach, increasing enrollment and completion rates for residents. Each of these partnerships plays an integral role in ensuring that students and residents alike have equal opportunity for economic growth and success. From engaging with Marion County middle schools to process over 915 21st Century Scholar applications during the 2020 school year, to working closely with employers to allow current employees to re-enroll in postsecondary, Indy Achieves is continuing to build and expand partnerships throughout Indianapolis.

“Completing a postsecondary degree or credential is a crucial factor to maintaining economic mobility. Our team is working tirelessly to ensure that residents not only have access to financial support, but receive personalized assistance as they move through postsecondary,” said Matt Impink, vice president of postsecondary and executive director of Indy Achieves at EmployIndy. “We are excited to see what happens in the coming years and witness the impact our partnerships will make in the lives of people in our community.”


Appendix A: Messages of Support for the 2021 Indy Achieves Strategic Plan

Center for Leadership Development (CLD): Yuri Smith, Manager of Community Programs
“We are so grateful for the immeasurable work that Indy Achieves and you are doing. As a fellow alum, I believe CLD has wired us to ensure we make our community a better place and your strategy to connect families and young people with the 21st Century Scholars program, is one great example of that service. Since partnering with your organization, we have been able to host presentations, register students and expose families to the 21st Century scholars application process, who prior to this relationship, had no idea how their students would be able to pay for college. Thank you for all of your efforts. We look forward to strengthening our relationship, so that we can ensure that all students, who are applicable for the 21st Century Scholars program, register and take advantage of this great program.”

Decatur Middle School: James Storms, School Counselor
“Through support from Indy Achieves, Decatur Middle School is working with families during these challenging times to meet the needs of our students who qualify for the 21st Century Scholar Program. We are grateful for the 21st Century Scholar Presentations during the Parent Zoom Parties. Indy Achieves is supporting both our English and Spanish speaking population! Decatur Middle School recognizes the importance of collaborating with Indy Achieves and we thank you for your generous time and effort working with our families.”

Guion Creek Middle School (MSD Pike Township): Amy Land, School Counselor
“Being a Title 1 school, we strive to get almost all of our students signed up for 21st Century Scholars! This alone can be a daunting job, but especially when added to all of our other counseling duties. Having a partnership with Indy Achieves really helps us be able to get more accurate and detailed information out and to reach more of our families.”

Harshman Middle School: Carrie Murphy, Family and Community Engagement Coordinator
“Indy Achieves continually goes above and beyond for Harshman. From attending parent nights to presenting in classrooms — virtual and in person — Indy Achieves has always been creative and inventive when it comes to meeting the needs of the Harshman Middle School community. When I think of partners who truly make a difference at our school, Indy Achieves is at the top of the list. We have seen our 21st Century Scholar enrollment more than double since partnering with this energetic and professional team and now can’t imagine offering this opportunity to our families without them.”

IUPUI: Boyd Bradshaw, Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) for Enrollment Management and Chief Enrollment Officer
“Indy Achieves engages in innovative ways to promote quality education and research with a plan that creates new opportunities to ensure student success and degree completion.”

Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis: John Cowles, Vice Chancellor for Student Success
“I am incredibly impressed with the work of Indy Achieves focusing on postsecondary certificate and degree attainment of Marion county residents. I look forward to seeing great success in Indy Achieves for years to come.”

Pike High School: Qiana Miller, School Counselor and 21st Century Liaison
“Not often do you encounter a program and staff that always go above and beyond for the promotion of students, but with Indy Achieves you get nothing less than the best. I look forward to  many more years of partnership.”

Sense Charter School: Erin Good, School Counselor
“Indy Achieves has been an incredible community partner in our efforts to ensure that students take advantage of the 21st Century Scholars program. It has been so helpful to consult with an outside agency for new and different ideas to get our students and families engaged in the enrollment process. I am thankful that they are willing to come to the table and brainstorm how to reach our school community, no matter the circumstances. I appreciate that Indy Achieves has generated innovative ways to make sure enrollment is easy and accessible to all families. Their assistance lessens my load so I can put energy towards meeting my students’ various needs outside college readiness!”