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116 Indianapolis Jobs for America’s Graduates students prove employability skills to community leaders and employers at JAG Career Development Conference

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – February 11, 2020 – Today 116 Indianapolis high school juniors and seniors met at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites for the regional Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Career Development Conference. Each student utilized the employability skills they have learned in their JAG classrooms over the course of the past year, competing in challenges such as chapter marketing campaigns, launching entrepreneurship plans, providing creative solutions, demonstrating critical thinking and employability skills, and more.

“We are proud to partner with and host the JAG Career Development Conference,” said Joe Melton, General Manager at Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites. “Our hotel is excited to be introducing young people to all that the hospitality industry has to offer through work experiences and job shadowing opportunities. The JAG Career Development Conference is one way that young people are able explore their skills and prepare for their future – and we are glad to play a role in that.”

The backbone behind JAG is preparing students for the workforce by introducing them to not only employability skills, but by introducing them to different industries, employers, and work experiences. The JAG Career Development Conference is an opportunity for students demonstrate their skills, with two individuals from each competition attending the State Career Development Conference next month. In addition to recognizing these students’ successes, six individuals were chosen as Outstanding Seniors, an award recognizing select high school seniors who have gone above and beyond in community involvement and are viewed as leaders among their peers.

“Before JAG I was very quiet and lacked basic skills that would prevent me from becoming successful,” said Zoey Lewis, Outstanding Senior from Indianapolis Metropolitan High School. “Now JAG has helped me prepare for my life during and after high school. It has developed me into a more equipped student by building my communication and leadership skills, so I am prepared for college and life after high school. I have been exposed to people who work in different career paths, received help throughout the college process, and built confidence in myself. As a first-generation college student, I’m not sure that I would have pushed myself to continue without the support of JAG.”

Even more than learning about employability skills, Zoey has become the JAG Career Association President and Valedictorian of her class. This opportunity provides stronger pathways for young people as they explore career opportunities and build confidence in who they are and what they can do.

“JAG helps students not only while they are in high school, but prepares them for what comes next,” said Erika Cheney, director of in-school youth at EmployIndy. “That is the vision behind the Career Development Conference – that students will be able to demonstrate their skills to prove to employers and themselves that they can do big things.”

A special recognition to our Gold Level Sponsor, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 481 (IBEW Local 481). Thank you for your generous contribution and support of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program.


To our Ecosystem Partners, Supporters and Influencers –

Over the past decade, Indianapolis has seen an 80 percent increase in individuals living in poverty. This is unacceptable. In an effort to discontinue impoverishing more families, EmployIndy aims to not only grow our programs and initiatives, but to invest in services for residents directly impacted by lack of access to education and training and jobs not paying a living, middle class wage.

In 2017, EmployIndy made a promise to the community to be a catalyst for change. Through addressing systemic barriers for entry-level workers by supporting employers; creating a positive trajectory for young adults by providing them with increased opportunities; and allocating resources to invest in our most marginalized neighborhoods, EmployIndy has recently concluded the second year of its strategic effort to establish a comprehensive workforce ecosystem for Indianapolis.

While there is still more work to be done, I invite you to peruse the highlights of our efforts throughout program year 2018. As EmployIndy reflects on year two of our Strategic Plan, we call out the barriers to quality employment for residents living in poverty and identify the tactical solutions that serve as a cornerstone to our programs and initiatives for underserved and underrepresented neighbors. By expanding our community reach through high school and postsecondary initiatives and increasing our access to individuals who are upskilling and re-engaging in the workforce, EmployIndy has played a major role in investing in the education, training and job placement of tens of thousands of residents.

We could not have done this without our partners. From educators in the K-12 space to passionate and committed employers to community and faith-based organizations working directly with previously incarcerated workers, we have come together to provide hope, encourage determination, inspire resiliency, reduce barriers and open doors for success.

Thank you to all our stakeholders who have played a role in identifying and executing on solutions that focus on increasing access and opportunity for our fellow Indianapolis residents. EmployIndy continues to grow these pivotal relationships as we endeavor with your help to build a pipeline of workers for a strong regional economy, invest in young people and contribute to reversing the growth of poverty in our community.

– Angela Carr Klitzsch, EmployIndy President & CEO

VIEW THE ANNUAL REPORT


Posted on October 3rd, 2019 in Events Tags: ,

The fourth annual JAG Leadership Development Conference took place on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at Jameson Camp. Brandon Warren, Founder & CEO of We LIVE, opened the day by explaining the importance of supporting one another and encouraging students to work together to make a difference.

After hearing from Brandon, the students split up into groups and went outside for a couple hours of team-building activities. One student from George Washington High School spoke about her favorite activity from the day, which was called Raging River. Students would set up blocks to in order to traverse an area, problem-solving together to ensure their blocks don’t “wash down the river.”

“There was a lack of communication at first because we didn’t really know each other, but then we worked together to figure it out.”
-JAG Student

Team-building exercises like these sometimes get a negative reputation, but business leaders note that in practice they are worthwhile investments that develop trust, learn conflict resolution strategies, build communication skills, and collaborate toward a common goal. These sound a lot like employability skills, don’t they?

After lunch, IndianaFIRST set up their frisbee-throwing robot for students to try out. One of the JAG specialists made sure to connect with IndianaFIRST after watching the demonstration. “It would be cool to have you guys come out and talk to our JAG classes as well as our school’s engineering and programming classes,” she said.

The day concluded with a drum circle session led by Arts with a Purpose and a presentation about Innovate WithIN from Don Wettrick at STARTedUP Foundation. In January, Innovate WithIN’s call for proposals opens for student entrepreneurs looking to build or expand a business.