Goodwill’s Indianapolis Metropolitan High School recently selected Daesha Cottrell as their outstanding student for 2019. Daesha is a participant in EmployIndy’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, which is helping to prepare her for success after high school. Learn more about her story and the impact of JAG in the video below.
Today 136 Marion County high school juniors and seniors met at the Indianapolis Marriott East for the regional JAG Career Development Conference – including competitions around employability, skill development, and career goals. All students are part of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, better known as JAG, which has a presence in fourteen high schools throughout the county.
View the full photo album on EmployIndy’s Facebook Page
The morning kicked off with former Colts player Marlin Jackson, speaking to to the audience of students, JAG specialists, and volunteer judges from local businesses. “In life, in every aspect, you will need a growth mindset – especially in the workplace. When you get criticism, can you take it or do you get defensive? When you take that constructive criticism and utilize it, you grow. That’s why it’s called a growth mindset.”
— EmployIndy (@EmployIndy) February 7, 2019
EmployIndy would like to extend a big “thank you” to our sponsors for their support of this event! Our sponsors for the 2019 CDC included gold level sponsors: Bank of America and Fight for Life Foundation; silver level sponsors: St. Vincent/Ascension and Duke Realty; and bronze level sponsors: PNC Bank and Lift Academy. Sponsors had representatives attend the event to serve as judges for competitions, as well as to network with students during lunch. Here is what they had to say:
“I think what was most striking was the confidence that these students displayed during their Critical Thinking presentations. Students that have been part of programs like JAG will stand out when they come interview for positions, because they will have gone through scenarios where they had to think on the spot and provide some depth of thought around critical questions.”
– Andrew Crask, Indianapolis Market President, Bank of America
“It is very important to get students interested in healthcare and show them the various career possibilities in the industry outside of becoming a nurse or doctor. As a judge in the Career Presentation competition, I noticed that the students’ level of professionalism was impressive. It’s very important to be able to walk up and shake someone’s hand with eye contact.”
– Karen Jenne, Ascension/St. Vincent
“Our new flight academy is trying to help diversify the aviation profession. Having worked with EmployIndy and knowing what the JAG program is about, we thought tabling at the JAG CDC would be a perfect opportunity to show students a career pathway that they weren’t aware of and give them an opportunity to learn more about it. While judging the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, I was impressed by the students’ professionalism and confidence.”
– Martin Kirkwood, Lift Academy
We’re off and running at the @EmployIndy CDC 2019! Students from Decatur Central are proposing a salon business concept first up in the entrepreneurship plan competition! #JAGFamily #JAGIndiana pic.twitter.com/UR3MtjQTtB
— JAG Indiana (@jagindiana) February 7, 2019
Another exciting part of the day was Kenzie Academy’s announcement that they are offering up to $300,000 in scholarships for JAG students across Indiana. Reps from Kenzie were on site sharing details for interested students to learn more about their accelerated, project-based learning in the in-demand technology field.
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.”
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.”