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Posted on December 19th, 2018 in Success Story Tags:

Emauri’a Davis transferred between several high schools before enrolling at Arsenal Tech in November 2017, about halfway through her senior year. With this transition, her lack of stability was taking a toll on her self-confidence.

“Before I started Tech I was going through a lot,” said Emauri’a. “I went to North Atlanta before that, [then] I went to Franklin Township. Tech was a different environment for me. I really just stayed to myself, went to class, and went home.”

When Emauri’a enrolled at Arsenal Tech, her guidance counselor placed her into their Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program where she facilitated relationships with her specialist and other JAG staff which made it possible for Emauri’a to connect with Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc. (STVI) where she started as an intern in November of 2018.

“When I entered JAG, they taught me a lot of things that my old schools weren’t teaching me: they taught me how to do resumes, and cover letters, and thank you letters,” said Emauri’a. “JAG really opened up my mind more… personally, it gave me more confidence and patience.”

Emauri’a at her desk at STVI

Since she started her internship at Stop the Violence, Emauri’a has already gained valuable professional experience – she has attended two conferences, organized data from surveys for reports, coordinated volunteer email communications, and learned to edit their website using WordPress. In addition, STVI staff are working with Emauri’a to add these experiences to her resume and provide constructive feedback to help her grow.

“Without JAG and EmployIndy, we wouldn’t be able to do as much as we’ve done,” says Beatrice Beverly, Stop the Violence Indianapolis Program and Volunteer Director. As a small nonprofit with limited funding, STVI relies on JAG’s work experience funding to provide an immersive learning environment to Emauri’a and three other interns. By investing in skill-building experiences for young adults, EmployIndy is cultivating positive career trajectories for these young adults and setting the table for stronger workforce in Marion County.

The state of Indiana allocates funds annually to EmployIndy for programs like JAG, but donations make it possible for JAG to grow and for more students like Emauri’a to participate. It takes $2900 to sponsor a work experience and improve the future career of a young adult so they can have a positive impact right here in Indy.

“Honestly I don’t have a ‘dream job,’” says Emauri’a with a confident smile. “I know that I will become a criminal justice lawyer, and I will also own a cupcake shop.”

Annual Report CoverEmployIndy posted its 2017-18 Annual Report on September 25th, showcasing the accomplishments of the first year of work of our five-year strategic plan. Read the intro letter from our President & CEO, Angela Carr Klitzsch below – and be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to get EmployIndy info like this directly to your inbox.


Dear Ecosystem Partners, Supporters, and Influencers,

September annually celebrates and honors American workers and their impact on the well-being of our country. We at EmployIndy follow suit to commemorate another year advancing local workers on pathways that ensure self-sufficiency.

EmployIndy plays a pivotal role in the prosperity of our city’s economy and its underserved and underrepresented residents. Leading EmployIndy through notable transition to streamline investment towards a strategy of youth development, neighborhood prioritization and place-based workforce development, and career pathway creation for low- to mid-skilled residents, has been both gratifying and a worthy challenge.

The Marion County Workforce Ecosystem is made up of many unique stakeholders – the work of an intermediary to coordinate these critical partners is no small task. Parts of this local system have historically been fragmented, and our focus in year one of EmployIndy’s five-year Strategic Plan has been on building organizational capacity to unify and advance the system. In year two EmployIndy will continue increasing investment in programs, providers, and initiatives that ensure inclusion and equity to effectively increase labor participation as the economy continues to grow.

It is with immeasurable pride that I share the distinguished work of our entire team in EmployIndy’s 2017-2018 Annual Report.

All my best,

Angela Carr Klitzsch
President & CEO, EmployIndy

Posted on August 2nd, 2018 in Organizational Updates, Success Story Tags:

After more than three decades of operation, the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program has proven to be one of the most successful state-level strategies for tackling high school dropout rates, low academic performance, youth unemployment, and other barriers for at-risk youth. Program participants actively engage in career exploration, leadership, and goal setting as they plan for their future and transition into post-secondary education, military service, and/or employment. In Marion County, EmployIndy administers JAG for IPS and other local high schools.

The JAG 5 of 5 Award is the “gold standard” for JAG programs throughout the nation. To earn it, the local program must have at least a 90% graduation rate; 80% positive outcome rate; 60% job placement rate; 60% full-time job rate; and an 80% full-time placement rate. In Marion County, 95% of JAG students graduated from high school for the 2017-2018 school year.

In July, both the state and Marion County were given the JAG 5 of 5 Award for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, six JAG Specialists received the award, two of which were also recognized on a national level as Outstanding Specialists. Although these awards are coveted, it is not the plaque that drives the specialists to success – it is the lives they impact each and every day.

JAG Specialists gather with award at the national JAG conference

Nearly all the students who enter the JAG program have barriers to overcome and need an extra push to establish a vision for a successful future. In Marion County, only 80% of public school students graduate high school to move onto further education or join the workforce. This dream pushed DaWit, a senior at George Washington High School, to join JAG because of his desire to gain necessary and valuable skills for his future, as well as have the opportunity for career exploration.

DaWit’s JAG Specialist, Charmaine Wardell, saw his motivation and helped him chase his dreams. “She’s the good type of nosy,” DaWit says of Charmaine. “She picks up on what you want to do and why – then she helps you get there.” Charmaine learned that he always hoped to be a public servant, which is when Captain Kevin Givens of the Indianapolis Fire Department entered the picture. When Captain Givens came to speak to the JAG participants this spring, Charmaine encouraged DaWit to network with him and ask about an opportunity to intern at his fire station.

DaWit (back row, center) with crew at Station 31

This connection led to DaWit’s seven-month internship at Station 31. His internship confirmed that becoming a firefighter was what he wants to do with his future. “These people are family,” he said. “They talk openly with one another and are always there for each other and that’s what I want.” DaWit learned that there is some required education to be a successful firefighter, starting with becoming a paramedic and earning his Fire Science degree. In the fall of 2018, he will be taking these steps by attending Indiana State University, making him the first person in his family to attend college.  DaWit is also interested in studying Unmanned Systems and Aeronautical Engineering. DaWit’s dream is to work at the Indianapolis Fire Department while also starting his own business of fixing planes and test flying them.

To guide more young adults like DaWit, JAG will be adding four programs for the 2018-2019 school year, for a total of 18 programs in 14 schools throughout the Indianapolis area. “We’ve had a lot of excitement over the JAG program in the past few years,” says Erika Cheney, EmployIndy’s Director of In-School Youth. “Whenever we are in the media, we always have individuals reaching out to us asking more about the program and how we can expand into their schools.” In the 2018-2019 school year, JAG will be expanding into Warren Central High School, Southport High School, Shortridge High School, and Crispus Attucks High School. JAG is instrumental in providing  schools the extra support needed to help improve student’s academic and future career success.

Aside from growing JAG in Marion County, EmployIndy has been partnering with IPS to encourage work-readiness preparation and career exploration. In June of 2017, EmployIndy and IPS were awarded a grant from EWIN (Education Workforce Innovation Network) and CELL/UIndy (Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis). With these funds, EmployIndy and IPS studied other work-based learning continuums taking place throughout the United States. Representatives from each organization researched and visited Academies of Nashville, P-TECH in New York, and Denver Public Schools CareerConnect.

The knowledge gained from these visits led to the establishment of the Health Sciences Academy launched at Crispus Attucks for the 2017-2018 school year. EmployIndy had staff members on various committees focused on employer engagement, work-readiness, and college and career prep. Throughout the year, St. Vincent, Senior1Care, and Trilogy Health Services were the top health industry employers involved. These employers, along with EmployIndy staff, participated in mock interviews during the student’s College and Career Prep class.

To further improve career readiness and exploration, EmployIndy hosted Opportunity Days at each of the WorkOne Indy locations in February of 2018. The Opportunity Days consisted of 160 students attending employability skills and financial literacy workshops. These student field trips were found to be so successful and informational that they will continue to take place throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

Partnering with organizations throughout Marion County, EmployIndy is working to grow the future of the workforce by providing various funding strategies, techniques, and implementing a strategic plan focused on supplying young adults with opportunities for work-readiness and preparation for a future of sustainable employment in good and promising jobs.