Author Archives: rkildall

City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
Indianapolis, EmployIndy

Contact Person:
Joe Backe

Contact Information:

Mayor Joe Hogsett

EmployIndy_2017_Logo_redtag_black-01 copy

Sector Strategies

As the workforce development board for Marion County, EmployIndy catalyzes growth of untapped and diverse pipelines of job-ready workers, as well as emboldens local employers to hire and skill up the Indianapolis workforce, while meeting the demand of growing industries. EmployIndy invests $20 million a year in public, private, and philanthropic funds to develop jobs-to-career strategies. EmployIndy is guided by a 21-member board appointed by Mayor Joe Hogsett and is comprised of business, civic, education, and non-profit community leaders. In 2017, EmployIndy launched a five-year strategic plan, highlighting three main goals, to significantly transform and grow Indianapolis’ workforce ecosystem.

EmployIndy’s Five-Year Strategic Plan
Anchored by a vision of working with partners throughout the city to build this comprehensive Workforce Ecosystem for Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Marion County’s Workforce Development Board, has adopted the following goals and objectives to drive action and inform strategic decisions for the organization through 2022.

  1. Address systemic barriers preventing a strong pipeline of entry-level workers and employment opportunities
  2. Create a positive trajectory for young adults to actively participate in the workforce
  3. Create an employer-driven urban neighborhood workforce development framework that can be replicated throughout Indianapolis

In-School & Opportunity Youth

Young people are the future of our workforce, and EmployIndy is committed to ensuring that Marion County builds a strong, capable, talent pipeline of young workers. To do so, EmployIndy focuses on two distinct groups of youth and young adults, In-School Youth and Opportunity Youth. There are an estimated 30,000 Opportunity Youth in Central Indiana. This population includes those who are homeless, in foster care, involved in the criminal justice system, who live with a disability, and/or are neither employed nor enrolled in postsecondary training or an educational institution. While considering that each of these groups requires its own approach to ensure a pathway to success, both groups can benefit from EmployIndy’s E^7 mindset:

  • Exposure
  • Exploration
  • Engagement
  • Empowerment
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Employment

Indy Achieves
Partnering with the City of Indianapolis, Indy Achieves aims to increase postsecondary access and completion for all Indianapolis youth. This will be done by maximizing financial aid, providing wraparound services & mentorship, giving gap-closing Promise Scholarships, and awarding completion grants to help students cover unexpected financial needs. The goal is to close the skills gap by preparing young adults for the workforce by arming them with job-ready credentials.

JA JobSpark
A two-day, hands-on experience for Marion County 8th graders (spearheaded by Junior Achievement) that introduces students to a variety of career opportunities and different fields. JA JobSpark is most commonly referred to as a “coalition of educators and industry leaders connecting youth to promising careers.”


Job Ready Indy
Partnering with the Indy Chamber, the City of Indianapolis, community-based organizations, schools, & local businesses, Job Ready Indy is an employability skills certification designed to empower and create a skilled-up generation. This program will be taught by qualified trainers in a variety of community-based organizations (CBOs) throughout Indianapolis. The students who complete each of the six courses will receive a “badge,” setting them apart from their peers as certified, workforce-ready individuals armed with the skills to forward their career.

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG)
To serve in-school youth who are at risk of dropping out, EmployIndy has integrated the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program in 15 schools in Marion County. JAG is a national model managed locally by EmployIndy which targets students most in need, finding those who are at risk of dropping out or facing severe barriers to education or employment. The JAG program offers students a wide range of opportunities as a means of dropout prevention and to ensure graduates are prepared for next steps after high school.

Pivot Re-engagement Center
Partnering CAFE and the Finish Line Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis, the Pivot Re-Engagement Center acts as a safe and familiar neighborhood access point, using sports recreation as a hook. This program is offering re-engagement services to opportunity youth and connection to education, case management, wrap-around services, workforce development training, industry certifications, and job placement services.

Project Indy
EmployIndy has also helped to launch Mayor Joe Hogsett’s initiative Project Indy.  Youth and young adults ages 14-24 can search nearby jobs and opportunities on the Project Indy website and mobile portal. Participants have access to a network of community organizations, employers, and corporate partners who are providing job opportunities, soft-skill development and job-readiness training to in-school and opportunity youth in Marion County.

Youth Employment System (YES)
YES is a comprehensive capacity-building initiative to create a network of like-minded partners, community-based organizations, training providers, and employers who are passionate about serving Indianapolis youth in the highest-need neighborhoods. Additionally, EmployIndy strategically invests YES funds to help community-based organizations that directly provide recruitment, education, skills training and supportive services for Marion County Opportunity Youth. See what our current grantees are up to!

Addressing Barriers to Employment

Any Job, Better Job, Career
The ABC continuum is a targeted, integrated approach focused on meeting the needs of residents in Indianapolis who reside in the areas most affected by poverty, crime, and unemployment. This method moves an individual out of employment into a career – starting by receiving Any Job, which requires basic employability skills. Next, an individual can apply for a Better Job where they would most likely need additional training or credentials. Finally, the job seeker has the opportunity to move into a Career, requiring ongoing training and furthering education.

WorkOne Indy
As the local workforce development board for Marion County (Region 12), EmployIndy oversees the American Job Center WorkOne Indy. WorkOne Indy is a career services center for adults and dislocated workers to use as a resource when it comes to employment and education. Most people who come to WorkOne Indy are struggling with more than one barrier to employment. When people come in, they have the opportunity to meet with Career Navigators, WorkOne employees who focus on helping the individuals discover their next step and how to get there. Lately many individuals who come in to WorkOne are dislocated workers. The struggle is not being able to find employment, it’s being able to find a good and promising job that is comparable to the one they just lost.

There are many people who have benefitted from WorkOne Indy services! Check out a few of their success stories.

Barrier-Busting Assistance
There are many community-based organizations throughout Indianapolis providing assistance to individuals all over Marion County who are struggling with employment:

EmployIndy partners with the State and provides resources to local organizations in order to better serve those with barriers to employment, including: