Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit HiringHoosiers.com.
GREENWOOD — In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. Some of those barriers include the lack of transportation and no permanent address. These two barriers greatly impact homeless and transitioning individuals who are looking to find the work they so desperately need.
But one new pizza place in Greenwood, the owners are working to break down those barriers so that people in need can get jobs.
Angie Wilhelmi and her husband were looking to retire when they moved from Illinois to Indiana. They joined a church in Greenwood on the south side and got involved in their ministry to help the poor called Tear Down the Walls ministry.
Around Christmastime last year, the Wilhelmi's started making pizzas to feed the homeless. With their Chicago touch, the pizzas became popular items and many people at the church started asking where they could buy their pizzas.
"We started making pizzas last Christmas for the homeless and we were doing this all out of our church's kitchen," said Angie.
The Wilhelmi's had no intention of starting a business. They hoped maybe if they sold a few pizzas they could give some of that money to Tear Down the Walls to help our area homeless.
But then the business found them. They stumbled upon what used to be a Papa John's by the Greenwood Park Mall. With the help and support of Simon Malls, they were able to takeover the space and use a lot of the pizza equipment left behind by Papa John's to have a very small startup cost for a new company.
The pair started making pizzas out of the space and invited the church community to check it out. By word of mouth, they got busy. So they were able to hire their first employee before even starting up a website or social media page about their business now called, Agape Pizza.
Denise is their first employee. She recently found transitional housing in Beech Grove and was on the job hunt. She first took a job in Plainfield but was discouraged to learn that her public transportation did not pick up and drop off at times that would allow her to make her shifts at that job, so she had to turn the job down.
The Wilhelmi's were connected to Denise and heard her story. They now pick her up and drop her off for work, to avoid issues with the bus timing. They say if more people took a little bit of time to help someone in need, we could turn a lot of lives around.
"A lot of them want jobs and the main thing that I see is its giving them hope so that they don't give up and keep searching," says Angie.
Angie says they hope to continue to hire Hoosiers who need a little extra help getting out of a tough situation because she believes it is easier to find a job when you already have one. She also says she hopes employers take time to listen to prospective employees and learn their story.
There may be a reason why they have a gap in their resume or why they don't have an address right now, or why they have to take the bus.
The Wilhelmi's want anyone who needs help or is interested in working with them to first go through the ministry Tear Down the Walls so that the community can help serve any needs they may have before getting back into work.
You can contact Brian Walls with Tear Down the Walls Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-457-8974.
You can also visit TDWM.org
To support Agape Pizza, stop by their location at 1201 Greenwood Park East Drive.
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