Recent News & Blog

Posted on May 9th, 2019 in Success Story Tags:

Some job seekers assume employers are exclusively seeking individuals with a specific skill set, such as mowing, mulching, or irrigation for a professional landscaping company. However, more skills applicable to any job are defined by character, communication and attitude. Melissa Harris, BrightView Landscape Vice President and General Manager, highlights that their organization “looks for character first. We ask a lot of situational-type questions rather than landscape or horticultural. We want our employees to demonstrate good character and positive decision-making skills in the past.”

DaShawn Mitchell is a BrightView recent hire from Fathers and Families, an Indianapolis community-based organization focusing on helping get men into employment or education. While he was at Fathers and Families, DaShawn took Job Ready Indy courses where he was taught workplace and social skills, self-management, and learning strategies for success.

Job Ready Indy is an EmployIndy employability skills program that was developed in partnership with and vetted by the Indy Chamber and the City of Indianapolis. This program was established to assist young job seekers in becoming valuable employees and to provide employers with high-quality individuals who have completed over thirty hours of employability skills courses.

Alex Vetter, a Regional Market Recruiter at BrightView Landscape, mentions that DaShawn was one of the best candidates that he had interviewed since starting at BrightView. “He wants to do a great job, learn skills, and grow in the organization. His attitude was exactly what we were looking for.” Job Ready Indy prepares participants for the workforce by arming them with the skills they need to excel on the job – meeting immediate employer needs by cultivating applicants who have learned the importance of actions like dressing appropriately, being timely, valuing their position, and demonstrating positive character and genuine respect for themselves and others.

EmployIndy’s mission is to bridge the ever-growing skills gap in Indianapolis. It is no secret that employers are struggling with retention and that many job seekers struggle to meet employer needs because of their lack of soft skills displayed on the job. In addition to job ready participants, EmployIndy also utilizes a Referral Portal where individuals who have received services from community organizations are vetted to ensure they have the employability skills needed to succeed in a workplace setting.

“Having a high school diploma is always a plus,” says Alex. “But someone with a great attitude and looking to grow within the organization can be trained on the job and gain skills that can be used to benefit us in the future.”

Job Ready Indy works for both the supply and demand side of the workforce by preparing job seekers for work while also providing employers with eager candidates who have the skills to succeed – ultimately building and strengthening the workforce in Indianapolis and encouraging inclusive economic growth in the city.

Businesses interested in becoming an “employer champion” for Job Ready Indy should visit jobreadyindy.org.


Posted on March 25th, 2019 in Press Releases Tags: ,

The program, developed in collaboration with Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indy Chamber, prepares young adults for work with the competencies that businesses need

Parents of Indy teens may still be looking for productive ways to fill their children’s time over spring break. For young people anticipating a summer job, boosting their resumes by earning Job Ready Indy (JRI) badges over the next two weeks is a great way to prepare for future employment.

Job Ready Indy is housed at EmployIndy and was developed through collaboration with the Indy Chamber and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office to provide young people a way to boost their employability skills for local jobs. With 855 participants already badged, EmployIndy is eager to see more earned in the six competencies offered: mindsets, self-management, learning strategies, social skills, workplace skills, and launch a career.  Thirty-three organizations are currently approved to provide the curriculum, offering access to residents throughout Marion County.

“Employers continue to tell us ‘soft-skills’ are increasingly hard to find. The Indy Chamber worked closely with EmployIndy to develop a practical curriculum, engaging our members to identify critical workplace competencies and ensure that ‘Job Ready Indy’ lives up to the name,” said Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. “We are very encouraged by the work being done by EmployIndy and partners to continue to grow the program and provide top level talent for our future workforce needs.”

Over spring break, free courses to receive four of the JRI badges will be offered at the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) on the near northwestside on March 26 and 27, and the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the far eastside April 1 through 5.

Signing up for a course at jobreadyindy.org provides participants with valuable experience and credentials – something important for young job seekers who may otherwise lack a robust resume. Badges earned through JRI are automatically displayed on a participant’s Project Indy profile, visible to employers who are using Mayor Hogsett’s youth jobs platform to fill openings for summer work.

“Local employers are starting to take notice,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “Prioritizing interviews or consideration for badged applicants does more than just say ‘we value your effort’ – it gives businesses a greater return on investment because of the researched, practical soft skills that these workers will bring to their jobs on day one.”

It is an immediate win-win for both the employees and the businesses that hires them, but the program is meant to strategically go beyond the short-term benefits and impact the future overall talent of Indy’s workforce.

“When young people focus their energy on learning skills to become valued workers, they accomplish a number of significant things: they provide needed talent for our local economy; earn, and learn the importance of working for, a paycheck; and set themselves up to refine those skills and achieve in-demand careers with higher earning potential in adulthood,” said Mayor Joe Hosgett.

Marion County residents who are interested in signing up or learning more should visit jobreadyindy.org and click “Spring Break JRI Sessions” for spring break courses, or click on the “Participants” tab to connect to other JRI organizations who regularly offer courses.


Initiative successfully employed more than 6000 young adults in its first three years and continues furthering employer partnerships in 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – January 30, 2019 – Today at the Indianapolis Zoo, Mayor Joe Hogsett and EmployIndy announced this year’s kick off of Project Indy, the administration’s youth jobs program. Since its initial launch in 2016 by Mayor Hogsett, EmployIndy, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and Marion County Commission on Youth, Project Indy has positively impacted thousands of young adults in Marion County by engaging them in the workforce. In 2019, Project Indy will continue to make a difference in the lives of Indianapolis residents by providing work experiences and career exploration opportunities for young adults.

Last year, Mayor Hogsett encouraged local employers to take an active role in offering opportunities to young workers. After reaching annual goals of 1000 jobs obtained in 2016 and 2000 jobs obtained in 2017, a goal of 3000 jobs was exceeded in 2018. The soft skills and work experience learned from these jobs will provide the local economy with a better-prepared workforce of the future.

“Project Indy has grown its reach every year since its inception in 2016 – providing employment opportunities and valuable soft skills for thousands of young residents in Marion County each year,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.  “In 2019, we hope to build upon that momentum, engaging even more young adults through our Summer Jobs Sundays, youth job fairs and Job Ready Indy program.  The valuable skills these future adults learn today will mean a more educated, well-trained and successful workforce for the 21st century.”

Project Indy is available on the mobile app Project Indy Jobs, created by local tech company WorkHere, to help geographically connect users to job opportunities near their location. The Indianapolis Zoo is one of nearly 140 employers who are using Project Indy to make a difference in the life of a young adult. Ashley Lawson, a Jobs for America’s Graduates student from Decatur Central High School, worked at the Indianapolis Zoo during the summer of 2018. While at the Zoo, Ashley improved her communication skills as she interacted daily with guests and has since decided that she wants to major in Education and Zoology when she attends Ball State this fall.

“Ashley is the perfect example of how a summer job can help shape a young adult’s future,” said Judy Palermo, senior manager of public relations at the Indianapolis Zoo. “By engaging with local talent, businesses and attractions like the Zoo are able to positively impact the workforce in Indianapolis and make it possible for young adults to envision the next step in their career.”

Guiding young adults as they take the first step in their career path by gaining valuable work experience is the backbone of Project Indy. It is well-known that oftentimes individuals need to develop soft skills prior to employment, such as learning the importance of professionalism, communication skills, reliability, timeliness, work ethic, and appropriate mindsets at work.

In order to improve those skills, Mayor Hogsett worked with EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber to launch Job Ready Indy in 2018. Job Ready Indy is an employability skills program focused on providing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. If an individual has completed one of the courses, a badge of completion will appear on their Project Indy profile – notifying an interested employer that they are deemed by EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber as someone who demonstrates “job ready” skills important in the workplace.

However, young adults cannot take the first steps to improve their career or community without the help of local employers.

“Young people need to have the support of our business partners to best identify their interests and talents to fill the skills gaps in our target industries,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “By hiring young adults, employers have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our community.”

One of the largest and often overlooked benefits to businesses is that connecting with young adults directly influences the choices they make when continuing their education or career path. Employment through Project Indy is one of many ways that employers can engage with young adults. Through Job Ready Indy and other EmployIndy programs, employers can host site tours, speak about their industry in a classroom or offer job shadowing.

Project Indy is uniquely positioned to connect both the supply and demand of jobs for young adults as employers look to prepare for the summer and beyond.

Employers and job seekers age 16-24 can learn more and sign up at projectindy.net