Recent News & Blog

Posted on September 17th, 2020 in Uncategorized

by Eric Thomas

Having been recently promoted to the role of Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion lead at Genesys—an Indianapolis technology company that provides cloud contact center software—I’ve had to examine my own relationship to the power structure around me. I’ve had to challenge some of my own preconceptions about the leadership that I interface with as I work to create a more inclusive culture in the company that is my immediate landscape. That said, doing so has provided a particular challenge: how does one go about challenging systems that are unequal without challenging the individuals who benefit from them?

It is a delicate calculus.

On one side of the equation is the vibrancy of voices for change, not necessarily calling for open rebellion, but certainly open to challenging the status quo. On the other side is the dull monotony of the “get along to get ahead” mindset that has, for too long, kept many of us employed, but not exactly orchestrating organizational change.

I was thinking about this recently with a colleague and we realized that a big part of the challenge of the present moment is a very peculiar ask: how do you challenge unfair systems without accusing their beneficiaries? All around me are an array of people that I genuinely like and respect. But, like many systems in this country and elsewhere, the principal beneficiaries of these systems are disproportionately white and male. How do I embrace the challenge of building a more equitable future without damaging the relationships that could enable it?

The answer is to embrace a growth mindset.

Equity isn’t pie. One person getting a slice doesn’t mean that someone else goes without. It means that we bake more pie. Genesys is prospering. We are adding heads in a variety of roles. It is a wonderful position to be in. And as I come to take a more active role in recruiting and hiring, an opportunity is at hand. The best part of this opportunity is that it doesn’t have to feel like a threat. To anyone.

Author Carol Dweck wrote about how individuals can be possessed of a “growth mindset” or a “fixed mindset.” In a 2012 interview, she had this to say:

“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

For me, what this means in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion is that there are no fixed positions. We can work to grow together into the future that we all deserve. It’s much less a reallocation than a reimagining.

We can embrace the people around us, while we commit to challenging the systems that favor some over others. We can all get smarter together if we work at it. This is what I’m here for.

You can learn more about Genesys and their efforts in Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by visiting www.genesys.com/diversity.


Posted on September 16th, 2020 in Events, Press Releases

Local and national diversity advocates challenge, recognize and inspire employers to exemplify diversity in their community, in their workplace

16 September 2020 – Indianapolis – Today was the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity. Pivoting due to the need for social distancing, this event took place virtually with nearly 300 people in attendance. This year’s event focused on the value of a diverse workforce, recognizing high-achieving local employers, and the importance of supporting Indianapolis youth through Project Indy.

“It is critical we take time to celebrate our community’s commitment to diversity,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, amidst national civil rights demonstrations and a pandemic that exacerbates existing inequalities, our cause has been given added urgency. Today, we commend the businesses and non-profits who are already leading the way toward a diverse and prosperous Indianapolis.”

With the support of the title sponsor, Genesys, and many others, the event hosted well-known local and national advocates. Emcee’d by FOX59’s Fanchon Stinger and Dan Spheler, attendees learned about the value and impact of workforce diversity and inclusion from keynote speaker, Janet Stovall; Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis; Tamika Catchings, owner of Tea’s Me Cafe Indy; Dr. Sean L. Huddleston, president of Marin University; Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy; Michael Huber, president & CEO of the Indy Chamber; Derris Ross, founder of the Ross Foundation; and Angela Smith Jones, vice president of diversity and inclusion for Health and Hospital Corp and former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development for the City of Indianapolis.

“As we look at building an inclusive Indianapolis, I want to encourage everyone to support small diverse businesses and encourage entrepreneurship for those reentering the workforce,” said Camille Blunt, Office of Minority and Women Business Development. “We all need to do our part to encourage equity and support of underutilized businesses.”

This event is a time to recognize employers who have made exceptional efforts to demonstrate inclusivity, diversity, and equity in their workplace through their leadership, workforce, community involvement and strategic planning. The awards are as follows:

  • “Sam H. Jones ‘Best of the Best’” was awarded to Peace Learning Center for their workforce diversity of all backgrounds and ages, and their recent adoption of new programs, systems and procedures to create a more welcoming and inclusive culture – which lead to a change in mission, vision and company values
  • “Diversity in Leadership” was awarded to Citizens Energy Group for the organization’s core leadership curriculum and support of a diverse organizational culture, providing quarterly updates to the Board regarding progress to their Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
  • “Diversity in Workforce” was awarded to the Morales Group who has implemented diversity best practices through their Project Azul career development and education program, supporting diversity through their programs and place of business
  • “Excellence in Youth Employment” was awarded to US Hydrovac Inc. for providing youth with the opportunity for a first job in a culture that promotes personal growth through mentoring and advancement as they describe avenues for successful careers in the trades industries

Due to the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Marion County causing establishments to experience temporary and permanent closures, there is a high number of individuals 16-24 who are now facing unemployment.

All proceeds from the 19th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity go towards funding and supporting Mayor Hogsett’s Project Indy youth jobs program. This program introduces young people to what is often their first job, teaching them the importance of soft skills such as time management, teamwork, workplace etiquette, and more.

“Through Project Indy, nearly 15,000 young people have had access to local job opportunities over the past four years,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, EmployIndy. “These young people are the future of Indianapolis – the future of our workplaces and our neighborhoods. Creating diverse pathways for youth employment provides employers with the long-term talent needed in the workplace and individuals with the employability skills necessary to be successful in the future.”

In order to continue supporting the Project Indy program, please text MCOD2020 to 243-725 or go to employindy.org/donate. More information about Project Indy can be found at projectindy.net


Posted on August 25th, 2020 in Organizational Updates, Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS (August 25, 2020) – More than 120,000 residents in Marion County filed for unemployment between March and June due to COVID-19, but a new resource launching today by EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana provides a central location for those dislocated workers to connect with available jobs or training opportunities. Job seekers will log into an online technology platform called the Ascend Network. Then, the job seeker will follow a streamlined process to connect with needed career services and get individualized support to help them find meaningful employment or training.

The Rapid Re-Employment Response plan is a coordinated effort by the Regional Workforce Partnership (RWP) comprised of nonprofits, employers, state agencies, and community organizations. At the request of Mayor Joe Hogsett, the RWP has turned its collaborative efforts toward a unified plan to assist residents of Indianapolis in getting back to work as quickly and safely as possible.

“As the hub for state and regional economic activity, Indianapolis has faced unique economic consequences from the pandemic, including the impact of stricter business restrictions, a decline in conventions and tourism, and job loss across diverse sectors,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “The Rapid Re-employment Response plan is a strong step to empower our workers, especially the most vulnerable, to re-enter the workforce and further their careers.”

Job seekers who live or want to work in Marion County can visit www.employindy.org/RapidReemploymentResponse where they will create a login and follow a few short steps to direct them toward the most relevant service, whether that is connecting with jobs immediately or receiving career readiness resources such as skills training. In either path, job seekers will receive personalized support to help navigate their path to applying for a job.

“Career services combined with a proven and robust platform means that EmployIndy can better help job seekers during this challenging time,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO, EmployIndy. “By connecting individuals in real time to open jobs; subsidized in-demand training; and partners like WorkOne Indy and community-based organizations, job seekers have many resources that can help them navigate a path forward.”

To meet changing workforce demands, Ascend and EmployIndy have adapted the Ascend Network to serve job seekers from a variety of educational backgrounds and experience. This will allow employers to connect with a broader pool of talent by rapidly re-employing individuals who have been displaced by the pandemic. Over a million dollars in initial funding for this effort was made possible by federal CARES Act spending appropriated by the City-County Council.

“Through this effort, we will connect job seekers with higher paying jobs in the region, which will mean a faster economic recovery for all residents,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “We must create systems to rebuild our post-pandemic economy so that everyone, especially those left out of economic recovery in the past, have access to opportunities that will lead to prosperity for them and their families.”

The RWP consists of the following organizations: City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Ascend Indiana, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), Conexus Indiana, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Indy Chamber, Indiana Chamber, Skillful, Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning, Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the United Way of Central Indiana.

For additional information on the Rapid Re-Employment Response, please visit www.employindy.org/RapidReemploymentResponse.

Social Media: Rapid Re-Employment Response
Hashtag: #RapidReemployIndy
Handles:

  • Twitter: @employindy @ascendindiana
  • Facebook: @EmployIndy @AscendIndiana
  • LinkedIn: EmployIndy, Ascend Indiana
  • Instagram: employindy, ascendindiana

About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. Our vision is for all Marion County residents to have access to services and training necessary to secure a livable wage and grow in a career that meets employer demand for talent. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 24 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. To learn more, visit employindy.org.

About Ascend Indiana
Ascend Indiana is the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an organization that brings together industry, higher education and philanthropic leaders to advance our region’s prosperity and growth. Ascend’s vision is for Indiana to be a place of economic opportunity for all. To achieve this, Ascend bridges talent and communication gaps by creating connectivity between people and employers. Ascend has focused its efforts around three core priorities: connecting job seekers to career opportunities through the Ascend Network talent platform, catalyzing transformative employer and education partnerships through Ascend Services, and informing workforce research and public policy through thought leadership. To learn more, visit ascendindiana.com.