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INDIANAPOLIS — There was a time when Amanda Endicott felt like things were hopeless, until she set her eyes on a flier leading her to a free program that would change her life. Now, she's making money and making strides.
Life for Endicott is looking up.
"I have a full time job," Endicott said. "I'm not in transitional housing anymore. I have my own place. I have a driver's license. I have a brand new car."
That is not how things were fifteen months ago. At that time, she had no income, no job, no home, no driver's license, and little hope.
"Yeah, it was pretty bad," she said. "I was pretty desperate, honestly."
Addiction and a criminal record led Endicott to the transitional house, where, one day, a visitor brought a flyer to share with the women who lived in the home. The words spoke to Endicott.
"The first thing it said on there was, 'Do you need help finding a job? Do you need help with transportation? Do you need help building a resume?'" Endicott said. "Like if i was to make a checklist for myself... things I needed to achieve or goals I needed to attain to project my life forward, it was literally just a checklist."
With nothing to lose, the flier prompted Endicott to check out the New Beginnings program at the Indianapolis Urban League.
New Beginnings is a free, two-week work-readiness program preparing job seekers for retaining and securing a job. It focuses on composing a resume, evaluating the transferable work skills of the program participants, coaching through the interview process, and even provides participants with clothing for their interviews.
The program started in 2014 and has helped more than 2,000 people land jobs and new skills. Roughly, 80 to 100 people sign up for the program each month.
Indianapolis Urban League Vice President of Programs Kimberly Simmons points out the free resource can help get people from wherever they are in life to where they may want to be.
"Many of our program participants have multiple barriers to employment," Simmons said. "Maybe they have convictions. Maybe they're homeless. Maybe they're struggling with an addiction of some sort."
LEARN MORE | Indianapolis Urban League New Beginnings program
Endicott says the first thing instructors do lays the foundation for encouragement.
"The first thing we learned was that no matter what our past is and no matter where we've come from, we can always build. You're not stuck," Endicott said. "That is not who you are. That is not your identity. That is some things that happened to you, but you can overturn that. That is very empowering. They didn't see the stigma attached to all of us in there. They saw opportunity."
Typically, participants find a job during the second week of the New Beginnings program, when they take part in the speed interview sessions. Urban League partners with more than 100 local employers, who call the agency for prospective applicants.
Endicott says her two-weeks at Urban League set her life into a new gear.
"I'll talk about the Urban League to everyone and anyone who will listen," she said.
After securing a seasonal job at a local contractor office, Endicott has been promoted at the company to a full-time customer service and sales representative. She says she is making good money. She's now giving back to lift up others, thanks to the New Beginnings program.
"I have some girls in my life that I mentor now, and I send them all over there," Endicott said. "I can't sing their praises enough with what they've done to help change my life."
The next New Beginnings Information Session is Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. at the Urban League offices at 777 Indiana Ave.
The free classes start again on Nov. 12, with free lunch served daily.