Success Story: Charlie Harris
EmployIndy’s own Charlie Harris exemplifies the importance of our workforce development efforts here in Marion County. Charlie is a recruiter in EmployIndy’s Business Partnerships department, and he takes pride in the importance of his work and his ability to help provide direction for people who need it. His own path benefitted from such support years ago.
In 2002, when Charlie had been laid off and took a retail job with Burlington Coat Factory, he felt underemployed but did not know where to turn. He heard a radio ad for the local community organization Fathers & Families Center, and decided to go in to see what they could offer.
After an intake interview, he returned for an orientation and five-week job readiness training. When a data entry position opened at Fathers & Families Center a few months later, he applied and was hired. Charlie credits the interview prep skills for their impact on his professional development, helping him refine his resume, in-person interview skills, and professional appearance.
Next, Charlie applied for Pell Grants to pay for school at IUPUI, working to earn his bachelor’s degree. While working full-time, attending evening classes, and being a father to his children, Charlie realized that Pell Grants alone would not cover his expenses as he tried to advance his career. Fortunately, he qualified for enrollment for YES (Youth Employment Services) funds to help offset costs for tuition, books, and childcare expenses. This added support ensured that Charlie would not be delayed in his progress, and he was able to graduate in 2011 with a degree and expanded employment opportunities.
He has developed a passion for workforce development, staying in the field since that first interaction. In Charlie’s words, “Being able to give back and share my experience with the knowledge to know how to help someone – it feels good to help people with the same help I received.”
As an employee at Fathers & Families Center, he worked his way from data entry, to registrar, to eventually becoming a career counselor and employment specialist before joining EmployIndy in 2017. Charlie believes that “community based organizations offer more than services, they offer a place for people to develop trusting relationships to help provide direction and shape their life.” He views his work today with EmployIndy as a means of extending and empowering the abilities of CBOs to impact individuals, and continues to find it to be a rewarding career.