Recent News & Blog

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

Posted on October 4th, 2018 in Success Story Tags:

In its pilot year, Job Ready Indy (JRI) has shown to be a flexible resource to many Marion County organizations seeking to provide soft skills training. In fact, in the ten months since its announcement, twenty-two organizations have become certified JRI providers with nearly ninety fully certified trainers. Even though providers are all targeting 16-24-year-olds, their approaches to implementing the JRI curriculum differ with their organizational structure. One such organization is Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter – South (ILCS), located near Southeastern Ave. and Emerson Ave.

An early adopter of the JRI curriculum, ILCS incorporated it into their Lighthouse Internships and Field Experiences (LIFE). LIFE seeks to help scholars become confident in their post-secondary pursuits by providing hands-on experience in high school. ILCS proudly partners with over thirty-five Indianapolis businesses to ensure that twice a month, every eleventh and twelfth grade student attends an off campus internship experience. Most employer partners host multiple scholars and several are hosting for their second year. For the handful of partner employers who are not able to host LIFE scholars, they help prepare sophomores by highlighting upcoming LIFE experiences in speaking opportunities. At graduation a LIFE scholar will have accumulated nearly 300 hours of authentic work experience at area businesses.  The businesses provide a wide range of experiences such as: child care, music, activism, health sciences, military, education, cosmetology, veterinary sciences, and non-profit development.

This model aligns with EmployIndy’s E^7 concepts for preparing young adults for the workforce: expose, empower, explore, engage, educate, experience, and employ. As area businesses to expose young adults to their industry and provide experience through internships, they are positioning themselves to have a pipeline of talent to employ in the future.

Now in its second year, ILCS’ LIFE program currently has a total of 100 scholars (forty-nine seniors, fifty-one juniors) learning employability skills and exploring possible career fields here in Indy. ILCS’ LIFE scholars engage in Job Ready Indy curriculum to further develop their understanding of self and how they can best function in a professional work environment. ILCS wove the curriculum into their school culture displaying the badges earned by each junior and senior in the hallways, encouraging younger grades about future opportunities. To date, seniors have had the opportunity to earn the Self-Management, Social Skills and Workplace Skills badges. Juniors, just starting out in the program, completed the Self-Management badge in September. In order to earn the badge, scholars must complete each unit in full, pass a quiz and demonstrate mastery in an advisor administered “badge in practice” test. This process allows the scholar to demonstrate both their knowledge and ability to implement each skill.

Click to see overview of the Job Ready Indy curriculum.

Job Ready Indy, a collaboration with the Mayor Hogsett’s Office and the Indy Chamber, is designed to be flexible and adaptable to existing programs. With badges covering six different sections of competencies, providers can choose to offer one, six, or some combination of badges using their own approved curriculum, free curriculum from EmployIndy, or a mix. By incorporating Job Ready Indy into their existing program, ILCS has provided greater impact for their participants and helped them experience the real-life application of important job skills.

In the words of one ILCS scholar, “I really like the curriculum because I feel like it is easy to understand and applies to my internship placement. I really like discussing each of the skills with my classmates and teachers and I feel like it really prepared me for my internship better than last year, because I actually know what my mentor expects of me as an intern.  I was surprised by how much I liked the curriculum, but also how challenging it was. There are a lot of terms and habits of being a good employee that I thought I knew, but didn’t until I was taught. I get excited about earning my badges because I know that when I’m done, employers will be able to see it online and I know that I’ll be a better intern and can possibly get a job offer after high school.”

Interested in learning more about job ready indy? Contact us!