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Hiring Hoosiers: EmployIndy offers tools to continue pathway to jobs

Aliyah Steele.JPG
Posted at 5:30 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 08:40:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Along with record unemployment, the coronavirus pandemic has set many people back in their search of a job or career path. Hiring Hoosiers is connecting you to programs that can help with those setbacks.

Although social distancing has halted in-person options, EmployIndy is working harder than ever to help young adults transition back into the workforce.

Aliyah Steele is one of many Hoosiers who have found themselves unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With three kids under the age of four, she reached out to CAFE on the east side for help paying rent and found something more.

"During the four weeks of waiting for my unemployment, they have also helped me through the YES program of trying to help me find another job," Steele said.

Through virtual tools, Steele's career coach works with her daily to find resources to pay her bill. They have also been exploring certification opportunities to help Steele land a better job.

"I was very surprised because within a short period of time they have offered me a lot," Steele said.

These resources are all in the EmployIndy "ecosystem" of organizations targeting Indy's opportunity youth.

"Youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 who are not actively engaged in the workforce, who may have dropped out of high school, or graduated from high school but not on a career trajectory," Rodney Francis, the senior director of opportunity youth services at EmployIndy, said.

WRTV has demonstrated through Hiring Hoosiers how these programs engage young people through in-person one-on-one interaction with classes, basketball and other workshops. Now, this pandemic has brought a new challenge for EmployIndy.

"Which really opened up for us another another area of development that we have to work with them on which is accessing these virtual tools right," Francis said. "So we are incorporating that into our job readiness curriculum to make sure that we are covering these things as we are preparing them for the workplace because at some point they will have to use those tools."

LEARN MORE | EmployIndy Youth Services

EmployIndy is getting creative to keep up it's connection with the community it serves.

"Whether it is crime prevention or just a place to talk in a Zoom room or if we are sending out a text blast asking them to come and get a food box and connect with your career navigator. We have also opened up a couple Facebook groups," Dionne Smith, the youth re-engagement center manager at EmployIndy, said. "We are also preparing to launch a NBA 2K20 virtual online basketball tournament. So trying to, we are constantly blasting out information and trying to connect with them in finding what can grab their attention."

Although things look different now, EmployIndy organizers want young Hoosiers to know they are offering support for a wide range of needs, even during this difficult time.

"It is imperative for us to maintain those relationships with them now that we have gotten their attention during this time period even more so so that while they are trying to navigate this time of uncertainty, they do have a contact number with someone they know and trust will give them sound advice and care about their futures right, to make sure they are making good choices and good decisions so that when we come on the other side of this, they are better positioned to continue their goal plan," Francis said.

EmployIndy is also working on sending inspirational and encouraging messages to their 'opportunity youth' to keep up their spirits and stay in the game during this trying time.