As the oldest of eight siblings, Brianna Ingram knows a thing or two about responsibility and hard work. Growing up with little financial stability, drug dealing was a source of income for Brianna’s parents who had limited educations, which led to a childhood in and out of foster care in multiple states.
Foster care showed Brianna a different way of living. “After seeing how other people did it, stability was something I strived for,” she says. She wanted to break the cycle of poverty. She wanted to be a woman to be reckoned with.
Upon returning to Indy, a cousin introduced Brianna to YouthBuild Indy, a local program that is based on a national model focused on providing job skills, life skills, and an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency (HSE) diploma. She was intimidated, but welcomed. “They just hugged me on the first day … YouthBuild Indy is not a program or a company; it’s a family.”
For Brianna, Youthbuild Indy not only provided her the opportunity and support she had been lacking, but it also led her to the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, which she credits for providing her the soft skills and confidence to find and retain a job. Through connections at YouthBuild Indy, she started as a part-time brand ambassador with WorkHere, an app developer that connects job seekers to employers. At age 19, she has her HSE, has worked her way into a full-time position at WorkHere, and even bought her own car. She is currently on a one-year scholarship at Ivy Tech in their IvyWorks software development program, and plans to continue beyond that toward her degree.