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Posted on October 27th, 2020 in Organizational Updates, Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 27, 2020) – EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana today launched a new apprenticeship model for Indianapolis high school students to prepare them for the future in high-demand industries. Modern Apprenticeship (MAP) is a paid two- to three-year work-based learning experience with local employers, where students will emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials and professional experience. This pilot apprenticeship program starts during an Indianapolis student’s junior year of high school.

Up to 30 students from five Indianapolis-area township school districts and charter schools* will be hired by one of 16 employers* representing a variety of growing, high-demand industries including information technology, financial services, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. Additional apprenticeship opportunities are also available in business operations including human resources, sales and marketing.

Modern Apprenticeship enables high school students to attain soft skills, technical skills and relevant work experience, while excelling in their high school and postsecondary coursework. During the first two years of the apprenticeship, students spend a portion of their day in school and a portion of their day working. In their third year, they focus primarily on their job while finishing the requirements for their industry recognized credential. This schedule provides students with the flexibility to maintain extracurricular activities and social connections while in high school. EmployIndy will also come alongside employers, supervisors, mentors and students by providing support to ensure students are developing professionally and progressing successfully through the program.

“As employers’ demand for highly skilled talent continues to grow in our community, we must establish a system of support to close the equity gap for Indianapolis students,” said Marie Mackintosh, chief strategy officer, EmployIndy. “We have partnered with regional and national career readiness initiatives to pilot a program that provides students with quality, career-relevant experiences combined with classroom learning that will prepare young people for a successful transition to college and jobs of the future.”

The occupations currently available to apprentices include junior coder, quality assurance tech, IT support tech, medical assistant, billing and coding specialist, staff accountant, maintenance technician and project coordinator. Students in the program will earn an average of $13 per hour for their work.

“By providing work-based learning opportunities to high school students from diverse backgrounds, Indianapolis will be able to prepare a strong workforce aligned with 21st century employer demand,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “In addition, having work experience will be especially critical for students as the economy reshapes following COVID-19 and the job market becomes even more competitive.”

“We are thrilled to work alongside Marion County’s workforce development board, EmployIndy, and Ascend Indiana to explore ways to deliver paid employment, on-the-job learning, and related high school and postsecondary classroom-based instruction for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “To further support the Modern Apprenticeship program, the City of Indianapolis will hire up to five apprentices to work in various departments within the City-County enterprise.”

Momentum has been building in Indiana and nationwide to develop models for connecting employers and high school students, with Modern Apprenticeship being one approach. Through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, this model is being established in Indianapolis, with plans to coordinate learnings and share best practices statewide.

“In 2019, an Indiana coalition came together to create a modern apprenticeship strategy by benchmarking with established programs in Switzerland and emerging initiatives in Colorado, Washington and South Carolina,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “What we learned has guided our plans for the modern apprenticeship pilot and our vision for a statewide system. At the core, Modern Apprenticeship is an options multiplier that provides more than one structured pathway for Indiana’s high school students to achieve success following graduation.”

*Participating Indianapolis-area Township School Districts and Charter Schools: Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Phalen Leadership Academy, Pike High School, Washington Township and Victory College Prep

*Participating Employers: Ascend Indiana, Ascension St. Vincent, City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Katz Sapper & Miller, iLAB, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indy Chamber, Ivy Tech Community College, OneAmerica, Roche Diagnostics, Skillful Indiana, TechPoint, The Heritage Group and UnitedHealthcare

  • To learn more about Modern Apprenticeship (MAP), visit
  • Modern Apprenticeship video can be found HERE.
  • Quotes from the Modern Apprenticeship pilot employers can be found below.

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. Learn more at

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

About the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation
The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation strives to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people by addressing the city’s most significant challenges and opportunities. The Foundation is focused on three issue-areas: education, health, and the vitality of Indianapolis. To advance its work, the Foundation implements a three-pronged approach: strategic grant-making, evidence-based advocacy, and cross-sector collaborations and convenings. Learn more at

Quotes from Modern Apprenticeship Pilot Employers:

Ascension St. Vincent: “Ascension St. Vincent is thrilled to be partnering with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy to improve the attraction of a diverse healthcare workforce through several innovative work-based training and education programs for high school students. We share the mutual goal of not only promoting an inclusive culture of engaged associates within the workplace, but also strengthening the communities we serve.”
Cindy Adams, chief nursing officer, Ascension St. Vincent 

Indianapolis Airport Authority: “The Indianapolis Airport Authority believes incorporating an apprentice program into our workforce development initiatives will develop the skills needed to address 21st century workforce challenges by creating a pipeline of skilled employees, better matching of employee skills and character with our needs and culture as well as development of future managers.”
Mario Rodriguez, executive director, Indianapolis Airport Authority

Indy Chamber: “The Indy Chamber is pleased to support the launch of the Modern Apprenticeship initiative, as well as the broader workforce programming of EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana. Partnerships like this allow the Chamber to provide our business community access to top-tier resources for their workforce development needs while staying true to our core mission.”
Mark Fisher, chief policy officer, Indy Chamber

 Ivy Tech Community College: “Ivy Tech has been a partner each step of the way in the movement to create and implement a robust youth apprenticeship strategy in Indiana. In addition to our involvement in developing strategy, policies, and practices, we believe the best way for us to demonstrate our commitment to youth apprenticeships is to be an early adopter. We like to think of this as putting an outstanding idea into action as one of the first employers in our state to hire students through the emerging Modern Apprenticeship program.”
Chris Lowery, senior vice president of Workforce and Careers, Ivy Tech

Katz, Sapper & Miller:
“As a pilot partner in the Modern Apprenticeship program, Katz, Sapper & Miller is excited to explore a new avenue for identifying and nurturing young talent, while providing meaningful work-based opportunities for high school students who otherwise might not be exposed to a career in public accounting. It’s a win all around – for participating students, for their schools, and for us as an employer.”
Jim Nestor, chief human resources officer, Katz, Sapper & Miller

OneAmerica: “OneAmerica is eager to be a Modern Apprenticeship employer partner. Through our Pathways Program, we’ve seen firsthand how workforce development innovation can make a positive impact for students and employers. Modern Apprenticeship extends this work, and we are delighted to create a pipeline of talent by introducing even more students to careers in financial services.”
Scott Davison, president and CEO, OneAmerica

Roche Diagnostics: “Roche understands the importance of cultivating a career-ready workforce, which is why we invest heavily in our collegiate Summer @ Roche internship program, our Accelerated Development Program and our Roche Academy partnership with the University of Indianapolis. Through the Modern Apprenticeship program, we’ll be able to extend our outreach even further as we develop and learn from area high school students.”
Terra Doyle, Integrated Workforce Strategies Practice lead, Recruiting Americas, Roche Diagnostics

Skillful: “We are delighted to support the new Modern Apprenticeship for Indianapolis high school students, both as a contributor to the development of this program, and as an employer.  With the focus on skills-based practices which this initiative has adopted, employers can more easily match the skills they need with those a student can provide, and provide crucial on-the-job experience for students.”
Bill Turner, executive director, Skillful Indiana and National Rework America Alliance Delivery, Markle Foundation

TechPoint: “Apprenticeships provide a compelling model for harmonizing education with employment and expanding diversity and equity in the talent pipeline. TechPoint is happy to partner in this pilot both as an employer and in support of our members, who are the state’s most important tech employers.”
Mike Langellier, president and CEO, TechPoint

The Heritage Group: “We are excited to partner with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy on this important initiative. This investment in talent, education, and experiences will help connect the next generation of talent to careers at The Heritage Group and build a pathway for economic mobility in our community.”
Betsy McCaw, executive vice president of People + Organizational Capabilities, The Heritage Group

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