Creating an employer-driven urban neighborhood framework that can be replicated throughout Indianapolis.
Traditionally, the means of obtaining employment services in areas that are disproportionately impacted by poverty, crime, and unemployment have been riddled with barriers and a lack of appropriate resources, creating an opportunity gap that exists in many Indianapolis neighborhoods.
Underserved and underrepresented residents of Indianapolis chronically lack equitable access to education and training opportunities, despite needing them the most.
Combating this disproportion requires meeting workers where they are at, ensuring coordinated and tailored resources for participants and professionals, and providing development opportunities for career navigation professionals in Marion County’s most disinvested neighborhoods. Each facet furthers the quality services available to enable more workers to successfully enter or return to the labor force.
While indicators of client and professional participation in these programs and strategies over the last year confirm an increase in services that results in a slight increase in regional labor force participation post-pandemic, the changing dynamics of the workforce in economic recovery are yet to be fully understood.
More than 350,000 Marion County workers were dislocated this year, largely due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 10% of workers without a high school diploma or equivalency.
To upskill residents and/or get them back to work, WorkOne Indy assisted 22,603 job seekers with career navigation services specific to individualized job readiness, job training, and job placement needs — 73% of these individuals were assisted from January to June 2021 and over one-quarter of these job seekers visited WorkOne Indy to access the technology necessary for today’s job search.
A network of co-located and coordinated partners via EmployIndy Career Services is essential in integrating a continuum of employment and training services at WorkOne Indy. This includes career navigation services delivered by Eckerd Connects; adult education services offered by Warren Adult and Community Education; re-employment services for individuals exhausting unemployment insurance benefits run by DWD; job seeker workshops presented by JobWorks; and the support of 1st Maker Space in learning experiences for students.
Adult education services were expanded and accessed by an additional 2,227 dislocated workers affected by COVID-19 to provide the skills and education needed to re-engage with the workforce by a grant from the City of Indianapolis’ Coronavirus Relief Fund for Rapid Reskilling.
MSD Warren Township
Resident & Neighborhood Services
It remains that an estimated 30,000 Opportunity Youth, ages 16-24, have disengaged from either secondary education and/or the workforce in Central Indiana. Additionally, the pre-pandemic labor participation rate for Marion County, age 16+, was stagnant at 67.1%.
To intervene and re-engage these populations in the labor force and ensure accessible services in target impact areas, EmployIndy partners with a network of community- and neighborhood-based organizations through YES Indy and the Community-Based Workforce Development program, funded annually by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Department of Metropolitan Development.
The YES Indy REC (re-engagement center) welcomed 421 youth and young adults to the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club this year, resulting in 396 new enrollments and more than 700 youth served by YES Indy. YES Indy's employer-driven training included partnerships with the National Association of Insurance Professionals, Project Azul, Catapult Indiana, and Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Indianapolis.
CDBG connected 306 underrepresented residents to employment services, including job readiness and occupational skills training, while implementing the same participant tracking and data collection system utilized across the YES Indy network.
The Ross Foundation
Learning Hub + Resource Library
Two years ago, EmployIndy launched a learning management system (LMS) with an initial focus on improving WIOA performance. Online learning soon expanded through a partnership with Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, in support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Generation Work initiative, to adapt the coaching and employer-engagement model developed by The Excel Center, expanding its reach to more young people through adult education.
Last year, LMS expansion centered around improved career coaching through professional development offered at Ecosystem Enrichment and quality service delivery via additional course curation aligned to the Certified Workforce Development Professional skills and competencies.
This year, EmployIndy’s Learning Hub transitioned to a new platform to accommodate broader program needs and user groups, expanding course offerings, technical assistance, best practices, and resources for Modern Apprenticeship, Job Ready Indy, Jobs for America’s Graduates, and Indy Achieves. The Resource Library serves as a supplementary index where all course documents and sources are accessible for use.
Over 50 organizations across the Marion County workforce ecosystem registered participants to the platforms, which now contain a multitude of trainings and resources for various user groups, including nearly 60 learning modules.
Thomas P. Miller & Associates
As the regional One-Stop Operator, Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) assists with implementing the strategic vision of EmployIndy by focusing on coordinating partner and provider activities to build relationships with Marion County ecosystem partners. TPMA leads partner negotiations and quarterly convenings of WIOA required partners; monthly Ecosystem Enrichment for workforce development professionals; analysis of career coaching throughout Marion County; and introductions to all EmployIndy programs and initiatives for participant referrals.