Re-entry | EmployIndy

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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 May 11th, 2018 in Success Story Tags: ,

Updated May 30, 2018

In 2012, Deandre Lander was a senior in high school who was invested in taking next steps in his career as he participated in Indianapolis’ J. Everett Light Career Center, where he earned his welding certification. However, for personal reasons, he did not end up graduating from high school. This certification got him a job, but because of his authority issues, it only lasted for six months. After that, Deandre worked in food retail until Fall of 2015, when he was arrested for being a part the wrong crowd.

As a first-time offender, he was given the opportunity to be released on work release after two years. This is when he came into contact with James Conway, a case manager for Keys to Work. When the two met, James immediately saw potential in the young man and enrolled him in WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), a bill designed to help job seekers gain employment, education, training, and services to succeed in the workforce. Because of Deandre’s age, he also qualified to be part of YES (Youth Employment Services) programs, which work with young adults to prepare them for the workforce and help them discover their next steps.

This next step brought Deandre to RecycleForce, a 501(c)3 offering “innovative recycling services all while providing life-changing workforce training to formerly incarcerated individuals.” While he was there, Deandre impressed his managers immensely and they offered him an associate position that provided him with resources to expand his skillset. He gained warehouse experience and earned his forklift license, a valuable, high-demand certification. But his employability skills growth did not stop there.

Deandre knew that he could continue to get certifications but having a high school diploma is something that would really make him stand out to employers. That is why when he re-entered the workforce in Fall of 2017, he got involved with Warren Township. Through the Walker Career Center, Deandre was able to earn his HSE (High School Equivalency) degree in October of 2017 and continue to further his career. At this point, his employability toolbox had a forklift license, warehouse experience, and a HSE. But he is a motivated young man and wasn’t going to stop there when he had so much more potential.

Since then, he has gone through OSHA and machine guard training and is currently working on getting his driver’s license and CLA (Certified Logistics Associates) degree. “I have the motivation to get jobs and now I have my credentials so when I apply for a specific job, it’s nice to be able to show that certificate,” says Deandre when asked why he has continued to grow his resume. One of the main reasons behind this motivation is Deandre’s young son, who lives with him. He wants to be someone his son can both look up to and be proud of.

“What I got in trouble for was no where near like how I was raised but then I came to Keys to Work and things started changing for me. Changing for the better.”


Because of his drive, success, and dreams to excel, Deandre has been featured in a series of employability skills videos by Ascend Indiana and in a news segment by Fox 59. “I want to work and stay at a place for a long period of time,” says Deandre,” I want to find something I enjoy and make a career out of it.”

Most recently, Deandre is working for the Indianapolis Dept. of Public Works (DPW) doing landscaping at city parks.

Posted on March 26th, 2018 in Success Story Tags: ,

Jason Leslie works full-time at Nelbud, a company that specializes in kitchen exhaust hood cleaning, fire protection and suppression systems, and grease trap services. Like many people, he went a roundabout way to obtaining his steady job.

Over the past 20 years, Jason had been in and out of prison on three separate occasions. During his final stay, he made a promise to himself that it would be his last time – a promise that started by making some serious lifestyle changes. While he was incarcerated, he enrolled in a year-long drug-free program, worked at a paint shop, and became a Kairos prison ministry member. Once Jason was out on probation, he knew it was crucial for him to find a job immediately. That was when he walked into a WorkOne office and was quickly connected with career navigator Anne Knapke.

Anne had worked with many people whose stories weren’t too different from Jason’s, so she had a game plan once they sat down and evaluated his job skills. For the next two weeks, Jason went in every day to work with Anne. She helped him create a resume and discover resources, such as utilizing local food banks. Once his resume was finalized, Anne connected him to Tammy Green, a recruiter at EmployIndy.

Tammy likes to refer to herself as “a professional matchmaker,” and for Jason, she did just that. He expressed an interest in heating and cooling and was offered an interview at Team 360 (now Nelbud), where he was told that he was a perfect fit and was hired on the spot! Within a week, Jason started his new position where he excelled immediately.

After working at Nelbud for only three and a half months, Jason has been promoted and is in training for a leadership position. “I was hesitant at first,” he says. “I have never been a leader. I was always a follower, which lead to my criminal past. But now I have a chance to be better, and I’m going to take it.” Little did he know, he had been a leader all along.

“Everyone at WorkOne showed me a lot of love and care and motivated me to keep going in the direction that I’m going. I give a lot of thanks to Anne and WorkOne for what they have done for me.”

Jason Leslie

After Jason was hired at Nelbud, his 21 year-old son saw a major change in his father: his dreams, his goals, and his attitude. His son witnessed a 180 and couldn’t help but be impacted by what he saw and realized he had to make some changes of his own, learning from his father’s mistakes. Jason introduced him to Nelbud and he was hired on. Since then, his son has been drug-free and has been recognized company-wide for living out the organization’s core values and mission. “Now I get to sit back and watch him succeed. Nothing is better than that,” says Jason, reflecting on how his son has grown.

Jason’s lifestyle changes and career aspirations aren’t stopping here. He is currently enrolled in a math course through WorkOne. Once he completes that, he is going to pursue his dream of owning or managing a HVAC company, starting by getting his HVAC certification. In the future, Jason plans to finish his associates degree (something he began prior to his last incarceration) in Business Management at Harrison College. Outside of furthering his education and growing his career, Jason is attending meetings and staying drug free, in the process of buying a house, enjoying life, and continuing to volunteer with Kairos Prison Ministry and mentor others. “I just hope one day I’ll be able to inspire others to do good and stay out of trouble. I’m a good story that if you do the right things, good things can happen. Many people think you have to do criminal things to get what you want, but that just isn’t true.”