Spring is upon us, and as summer gets closer, young adults are starting to think about summer jobs and other opportunities for growth. On March 11, Congressman André Carson hosted his sixth annual Youth Opportunities Fair at the Central Library to help Indianapolis youth find these job, learning, and volunteer opportunities, with over 75 organizations attending. Young adults also participated in sessions designed to help them with interviewing skills and resume review.
Amanda Finch from the YMCA explained how volunteering can help youth get their “foot in the door.” Skills learned at a volunteering position or job with the YMCA can transfer into real life situations. “One of our most popular positions is lifeguarding. We teach them so many valuable life skills and safety skills that can branch out beyond what they do in their role at the Y – they could save somebody’s life.”
Many jobs, including those at YMCA, Indy Parks, FedEx, Kroger, and more, are filled by connections made through Project Indy, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s youth jobs program. EmployIndy staff were on-site helping young adults sign up and download the Project Indy app to get them started.
Representatives from Indy Parks and Kroger emphasized the variety of opportunities available to youth as they work their way up from entry-level positions. “A lot of the people in our positions started as 16 year old lifeguards and cashiers and worked their way up, so getting a job at Indy Parks could be a career move,” said Will Hollowell from Rhodius Park. “The best skill I’ve found is just people who want to work. Being excited about work is a key attribute that many teens possess.”
Matt Mueller landed his first job bagging groceries at Kroger twenty-four years ago, and has found various opportunities to continue his career there since. “People think that sometimes working for Kroger is just bagging groceries or stocking milk or whatever it may be, but it’s so much more than that. You can work in Human Resources and Marketing and Transportation and Logistics – any career you could ever want, you could do that under the Kroger umbrella – starting from the single utility clerk job bagging groceries,” he explained.
As hundreds of young adults browsed the aisles, most were able to walk away with a lead or an idea of where to aim next. Not everyone will find their dream summer job – but exposure to these opportunities available is important as they continue to learn and think about a future job, education, or career.
Andre Allen from FedEx Ground offered a bit of succinct advice: “Stay persistent – we’re always looking for new talent.”
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