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Posted on October 20th, 2020 in Organizational Updates, Press Releases
As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $75 million global initiative, Indianapolis is one of 10 global cities to receive career readiness philanthropic investments


Cities will leverage innovative new practices and policy solutions to expand access to real-world work experience, higher education and good careers for underserved young people

 October 20, 2020 – Indianapolis, IN— JPMorgan Chase today announced Indianapolis as one of six U.S. cities to receive career readiness investments as part of the firm’s $75 million global commitment to better prepare young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow. These five-year philanthropic investments and policy solutions are part of the firm’s New Skills at Work initiative to prepare young people for the future of work and the new $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity and drive an inclusive economic recovery.

With a $7 million commitment in Indianapolis, JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills Ready Network will develop pathways and policy recommendations that give underserved students access to higher education and real-world work experiences that lead to high-wage, in-demand jobs.

Education and workforce leaders in Indianapolis recognize that there is much to be done to ensure that all students are enrolled in pathways that start in high school and continue through postsecondary, lead to high-demand, high-wage jobs, embed opportunities for work-based learning and postsecondary credit, and culminate in credentials with labor market currency. EmployIndy will lead local and state partners as part of the Indianapolis New Skills Ready Network to develop and implement those pathways and support students – especially those underrepresented in jobs that provide a family sustaining wage – to help ensure they persist in and complete those pathways to earn a credential with labor market value.

This $7 million investment brings together partners including Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Ascend Indiana, and the Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to create systems that launch learners into good jobs in the region.

“A skilled workforce and an inclusive recovery are key to Indianapolis’ growth,” said Jim Macdonald, Market Manager for Indiana and Kentucky, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “Unfortunately, too many young people, especially underrepresented and disadvantaged students, are entering the workforce without the skills, resources and real-world experiences they need. Partnership between educators, community partners and business are critical to helping provide all students with access to opportunity they need to succeed. This investment helps prepare Indianapolis students for a more prosperous future.”

$7 Million for Career Pathways in Indianapolis
The firm is making an added investment in Indianapolis’ young people through support of robust infrastructure created by EmployIndy for work-based learning systems throughout the region’s workforce development ecosystem. The latest investment builds on a $1 million philanthropic commitment the firm made in 2019 to EmployIndy and IPS for the launch of career academics at its four high schools, allowing students to take skill-focused courses designed to prepare them for college or the workforce.

“Recent local and statewide studies have shown that more than half of the net new jobs created will require a postsecondary credential for entry-level positions. To bridge this gap for the future, EmployIndy is working with key local education systems to drive systemic transformation to ensure quality career pathways, real-world experiences, and seamless transition to postsecondary education, while closing the equity gap for students,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, EmployIndy president & CEO.

The vision is to expand and reinvent accessible career pathways for all IPS students and to advance this pilot to influence a career readiness framework and policy that can be implemented statewide. Career academies at IPS offer distinct pathways and programs that align to regional in-demand career opportunities to help ensure academic preparedness of students for postsecondary opportunities or employment.

This partnership will support our effort to ensure all career academy pathways at IPS are high quality and that students have the support they need to succeed. It also will increase the number of district teachers who are credentialed and trained to teach college-level coursework,” said Aleesia Johnson, IPS superintendent. “It’s partnerships like this that help Indianapolis Public Schools shatter the barriers that act as roadblocks for students throughout our district.”

10 New Investments
Indianapolis, and the nine other global sites, are formulating new partnerships between local school systems, higher education, employers, and government entities, in the U.S. and around the world, to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways. In the U.S., a network of six cities and their states will be supported by two partners:

  • Advance CTE, the longest standing national non-profit that represents state CTE Directors and state leaders of Career Technical Education (CTE), will leverage a $5 million philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase to provide research and resources that support sites to meet the objectives of the initiative and translate lessons from the sites into tools and resources that can be leveraged by a broader set of communities.
  • Education Strategy Group, a mission-driven consulting firm focused on strategies to help all learners earn a post-secondary credential that has value in the labor market, will leverage a $6 million philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase to support sites with high-quality technical assistance and cross-site learning and convening.

 “These funds provide us with the ability to invest in our students and in the future of our city,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis. “Establishing high-quality career pathways allows for residents to advance into growing industries and secure promising jobs.”

 A Global Challenge
According to a recent global survey, one in six youth stopped working since the outbreak of COVID, with young workers age 18 to 24 more likely to lose their jobs. The same survey found that one in eight young students were left without any access to education or training.

Even before the pandemic, rapid changes in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence continued to shape the economy and exacerbate the disconnect between skills and jobs, setting young people further behind. Cities are adjusting to better prepare their students for an ever-evolving labor market, including elevating the importance of connecting credentials and work experiences to the jobs that will fuel economic recovery post-COVID.

Investments Lead to Smarter Policy
Existing education and training systems are not meeting the growing demand for skilled workers, nor are they effectively connecting adults and youth to well-paying jobs. Over the last five years, JPMorgan Chase has made investments to help build partnerships between school systems, employers, and government agencies that can lead to smarter policies for creating career pathways.

As a result, the firm zeroed in on three lessons learned from past successful efforts that are being applied as part of this global investment, including:

  1. Engaging public-private sector partners to work together toward a shared goal.
  2. Using data-driven solutions to develop new interventions and education strategy.
  3. Introducing policies that plan for, and scale, successful programming at the outset to ensure sustainability over the long term.

To further these goals, and the firm’s new skills investments, JPMorgan Chase’s PolicyCenter announced in February 2020 that it will develop and advance critical policy recommendations to prepare students for good careers and economic mobility.


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