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EmployIndy Business Partnerships, Talent Bound Teams Connect Schools with Local Employers

Posted on November 12th, 2021 in Events, Speaking Engagements, Success Story, Uncategorized

The hospitality industry continues to struggle from the hard-hitting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite businesses reopening, many in the service industries are facing widespread labor shortages that largely affect the ability of employers to return to business as normal. A recent report found that the leisure and service industry continues to lack almost 2.2 million jobs, nearly ⅓ of the total missing occupations in the United States. 

Indianapolis’ hospitality industry is facing similar repercussions as businesses fight to recover from the pandemic. Many local hospitality employers began expressing their adverse experiences in navigating recovery to EmployIndy’s Business Partnerships team this past Winter. 

The Business Partnerships team fosters collaborative connections with Marion County employers to better understand the barriers they are facing. Simultaneously, the team helps businesses establish organizational best practices to attract, train, and maintain qualified employees. EmployIndy’s business partners receive wrap-around support in establishing comprehensive career pathways that leverage diverse talent from the Indianapolis community, including young adults

“The Business Partnerships team is always looking for new opportunities to bring together our employer and school partners and create mutually beneficial connections that help establish talent pipelines between community businesses and local students,” says Tracy Murphy, EmployIndy’s Associate Director of Business Partnerships. 

In order to better support businesses amid the recovery from COVID-19 and the ensuing labor shortage, collaboration between employers in the hospitality industry and those entering the workforce was necessitated. To further these efforts, the Business Partnerships team collaborated with Matt Simpson, the Associate Director of Talent Bound, EmployIndy’s work-based learning initiative that connects employers to educators and students through a variety of career exposure, engagement, and experiential activities

On Thursday, September 2nd, Murphy and Simpson facilitated a roundtable discussion in coordination with Visit Indy and Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (INRLA), The discussion included seven representatives from local hospitality businesses and a variety of EmployIndy’s K-12 and education partners, listed below.

During the hour-long, virtual roundtable, hospitality employers from across Marion County shared their experiences with economic recovery as well as their ideas on possible solutions to local labor shortages, including the establishment of talent pipelines in Indianapolis high schools. 

“This discussion was a great opportunity for the hospitality industry to share its hiring needs and for our school partners to gain insight on the available career pathways in Marion County,” says Simpson.

The agenda contained topics such as wage compensation, work hours, available positions, and transportation barriers. Education providers then shared upcoming events as well as specific contact information with the hospitality employers to promote continuing communication. Both parties curated sustainable working relationships, helping students to find employment and hospitality employers to attract and maintain quality workers. 

“As the high school representative for Talent Bound, our goal is to expose young people to as many different career pathways as possible throughout their K-12 experiences, helping ensure that they can make an informed career decision when the time comes,”  says Simpson. “The roundtable event connected schools interested in establishing partnerships with local employers who are willing to share industry opportunities with students.”

This discussion resulted in numerous opportunities for hospitality representatives to participate in school events such as guest speaking, career days, and organizational tours. Student internship opportunities with local hospitality employers have been introduced as well, launching a solid foundation for the development of future talent pipelines in Marion County. EmployIndy will continue to facilitate the connection and communication between hospitality employers and local schools, offering guidance on how to best engage high schoolers and present career opportunities within the hospitality industry. 

Are you an employer interested in connecting with EmployIndy’s Business Partnerships team? Email Tracy Murphy at tmurphy@nullemployindy.org to get started! 

Hospitality Representatives in Attendance:

Education Providers and K-12 Partners in Attendance:


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The funding for TIF Training Grants comes from the NextLevel Jobs program, overseen by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. These grantees are reimbursed for their work to hire, train, and retain Indianapolis workers. It removes the financial barriers that many employers face during the hiring process and allows them to provide opportunities for growth and employee success throughout the training process.

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