Posted on September 10th, 2021 in Events
Despite tremendous uncertainty, this year has offered new opportunities. Economic recovery programs are underway across the country and efforts surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to grow, both in frequency and stature. Workforce development is playing a critical role in shaping the future of our communities, now more than ever before. This September, EmployIndy is celebrating Workforce Development Month by recognizing the strides our workforce ecosystem has made during unprecedented times.
These strides, however, were not accomplished without navigating the obstacles of the past eighteen months; the COVID-19 global health crisis and ensuing economic recession; entire industry shutdowns, and thousands of business closures. Our healthcare system was pushed to the brink, losing hundreds of thousands of lives as millions more still suffer the collective and individual trauma of this pandemic. The systemic disparities of both our economy and society were laid bare, exposing the structural inequities of our communities.
The opportunity to address the barriers plaguing our workforce, however, has never been more present.
And we took it.
Learning from the choices made during the Great Recession, the economic recovery has been driven by investing in workers and good jobs. There has been a tremendous investment in workers and workforce development from the federal government, with more legislation pending.
Communities have more accessible resources to help a diverse array of workers gain the skills they need to launch sustainable careers. Job seekers can be discerning about the jobs they take. Employers are improving the quality of their jobs through higher wages, increased benefits, more equitable hiring practices, and other job quality elements that attract workers. Our workforce is in the midst of the good jobs recovery we need.
But we, as workforce developers, cannot stop here. We need to keep our foot on the gas to accelerate this recovery and rebuild a workforce ecosystem that benefits all people. There is still a lot of work to be done to address structural inequities within the world of work and our society. Investing in good jobs cannot be a one-time gimmick to bring in workers; employers need to stay committed to investing in their workforce.
This Workforce Development Month we acknowledge that we are on the right path, but there is still a long way to go to get to an equitable, inclusive, and thriving economy for all.
Stay up to date with the latest developments during Workforce Development Month by following #WkDevMonth2021 on social media.
For more resources on workforce development and additional content on Workforce Development Month, check out EmployIndy partner National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Posted on September 6th, 2021 in Uncategorized
7 September 2021 – The modern age has brought about major changes within the world of work. Emerging technologies and globalization are impacting the very nature of workforce dynamics while employers’ demand for highly-skilled, versatile talent continues to grow. A combination of technical and soft skills, as well as comprehensive, real-world experiences, are prerequisites for the majority of entry-level jobs. The opportunities to obtain these credentials, however, are not readily accessible, creating a widening gap in career-ready skills amongst the workforce.
In an effort to bridge the gap between the supply of talent and the demand for multi-skilled employees in the local community, EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana piloted a new apprenticeship model for Indianapolis high school students that prepare them for the future of high-demand industries.
Modern Apprenticeship (MAP) is a paid three-year work-based learning experience for Central Indiana high schoolers with local community employers. Beginning their junior year of high school, apprentices will split their time between the classroom and the workplace. By the end of the MAP experience, students not only graduate with a high school diploma and obtain invaluable social capital, but they will also earn industry-recognized credentials and transferable college credits.
“Modern Apprenticeship helps to diversify talent pipelines while increasing the economic mobility of local youth and providing the critical experience needed when taking the next steps towards a career,” says Betsy Revell, Vice President of Talent Solutions at EmployIndy.
The inaugural MAP cohort, consisting of 30 students and 16 employers, signed their certificate of acceptance in May of 2021, establishing a system of career-connected learning that will create equitable opportunities for high schoolers throughout Marion County. The youth apprentices completed two MAP boot camps this summer to prepare them for their upcoming apprenticeships this fall and begin connecting with their employers and peers.
In addition to piloting the Modern Apprenticeship program, EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana both hired apprentices from the inaugural cohort.
“Hiring internal apprentices was important to EmployIndy because we wanted to navigate the Modern Apprenticeship program alongside our business partners and have a legitimate experience as a MAP employer,” says Revell. “Hosting apprentices also aligns with our goals associated with creating long-term talent pipelines and EmployIndy’s strategic priority of building career pathways for young adults.”
Salematou Diaby, Kimorah Waites, and Melanie Garcia began their apprenticeships at EmployIndy on August 9th. All three apprentices have been placed in different departments within EmployIndy; Diaby with the Career Services team, working with WorkOne Indy; Waites with the Talent Solutions team, working with Talent Bound and MAP; and Garcia with the K-12 and Postsecondary team, working with K-12 programs (photos at end of post).
“It is exciting to have youth apprentices within these EmployIndy teams because, in many cases, high school students are our target audience,” says Revell. “Our apprentices offer an opportunity for EmployIndy to get real-world feedback in real-time, and we need that real-time insight to continue to expand our programs.”
Workforce development is facing a new set of stipulations in adequately preparing young people for the future working world. The demand for well-rounded, experienced employees requires targeted services that leverage existing talent pools from a young age. Competent workers are abundant, but the training needed to fortify their skills is not always accessible. Modern Apprenticeship creates accessible opportunities for young talent while enhancing the skills needed to succeed in today’s in-demand industries.
Melanie Garcia, EmployIndy’s K-12 & Postsecondary Apprentice
Salematou Diaby, EmployIndy’s Career Services Apprentice
Kimorah Waites, EmployIndy’s Talent Solutions Apprentice
The unemployment rate in Marion County has faced record highs throughout the duration of the COVID-19 global health crisis. Many residents have been faced with not only the collective uncertainty brought forth by the pandemic but, also, the adverse tribulations that ensue after losing employment.
The Regional Workforce Partnership (RWP) coordinated efforts with local nonprofits, employers, state agencies, and community organizations to assist the residents of Indianapolis in getting back to work as quickly and safely as possible. These efforts, however, were tailored to intentionally fulfill the need for a diverse pipeline of talent amongst local employers. The utilization of collaboration and unification is key in bridging the gap between the job seekers and employers of our community, and, as so, the Rapid Re-Employment Response plan was initiated.
In August of 2020, this plan came to fruition through the partnership of EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana. These two organizations utilized the Ascend Network, an online technology platform, to connect dislocated workers with available jobs and training opportunities. EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana adapted the platform to include a variety of job seekers with differing educational backgrounds and experiences, all while providing personalized support to help each individual navigate their career paths.
“Bringing on new technology and being the first expansion partner of the Ascend Network while diligently working within this partnership to make sure that the platform aligns with the populations EmployIndy serves has been a crucial learning process,” says Betsy Revell, Vice President of Talent Solutions at EmployIndy.
Over the last year, 944 job seekers have completed their logins to the Ascend Network. Of those job seekers, 443 have scheduled meetings with EmployIndy Recruitment Managers, who meet one-on-one with job seekers to assess their resumes, interview skills, and overall job readiness.
Based on those preparations, Recruitment Managers either refer individual job seekers to WorkOne Indy for additional career-ready enhancement or directly admit them to the Ascend Network to launch their profiles. Nearly 256 job seekers have been referred to WorkOne over the duration of Rapid Re-Employment Response, cumulating a total of 357 career-ready job seekers as active profiles within the network’s talent pipeline.
As of August 20th, 2021– the one-year anniversary of EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana’s utilization of the Ascend Network– 212 job seekers have been placed in employment positions through Rapid Re-Employment Response.
Placing over 200 job seekers in positions amid the obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic has required major flexibility and adjustments as workforce developers. But, as Revell states, “What is incredible about reaching this milestone is that we have been able to see that, the more people engage, the more outcomes we achieve.”
This milestone marks a 59% conversion rate of active profiles to job placements. Mileah Gray, Director, Rapid Re-Employment Response Talent Network, notes that this rate of success comes from EmployIndy Recruitment Managers’ active role in guiding the relationships between job seekers and employers.
“The human connection aspect of the network establishes a relationship with the job seeker and enables the Recruitment Manager to provide the job seeker with confidence in interviewing and ongoing encouragement to persevere in their job search,” says Gray.
- For additional information on the Rapid Re-Employment Response, please visit www.employindy.org/RapidReemploymentResponse.
- Current members of the Indianapolis RWP include the City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (Ascend and Conexus), Indy Chamber, United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), Indiana Chamber, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship, Commission for Higher Education (CHE), and Skillful.