A Closer Look: The Generation Work Partnership in Indianapolis

Posted August 14, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Helping connect young people to workforce and career opportunities in Indianapolis

As part of its Gen­er­a­tion Work™ ini­tia­tive, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is invest­ing in five part­ner­ships — in Cleve­land, Hart­ford, Indi­anapo­lis, Philadel­phia and Seat­tle — to explore new ways of help­ing young peo­ple gain the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence need­ed to secure jobs that pay fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages.

This post, which focus­es on Indi­anapo­lis, is part of a series that explores how each part­ner­ship is work­ing to posi­tion young peo­ple — espe­cial­ly youth and young adults of col­or and those from low-income com­mu­ni­ties — for work­place success.

The Chal­lenge

In Indi­anapo­lis, tra­di­tion­al edu­ca­tion and train­ing mod­els are fail­ing to help young peo­ple — espe­cial­ly youth and young adults of col­or — gain the skills, cre­den­tials and con­nec­tions they need to devel­op well-pay­ing careers.

Though the local labor mar­ket over­whelm­ing­ly requires edu­ca­tion past high school, only 39% of res­i­dents in Indi­anapo­lis and the greater Mar­i­on Coun­ty (ages 25 to 64) hold a post­sec­ondary cre­den­tial. This sta­tis­tic is 9 per­cent­age points below the nation­al average.

The Partnership’s Approach

The Gen­er­a­tion Work Part­ner­ship in Indi­anapo­lis is seek­ing to inte­grate ser­vices into adult edu­ca­tion pro­grams — includ­ing one-on-one coach­ing, occu­pa­tion­al train­ing and job place­ment — that can help posi­tion young peo­ple for a well-pay­ing career.

As part of these efforts, the part­ner­ship is ask­ing adult edu­ca­tion pro­grams to inte­grate com­po­nents of a coach­ing mod­el that Good­will of Cen­tral and South­ern Indi­ana devel­oped for use in its Excel Cen­ter®, a free pub­lic char­ter school for adults.

The mod­el uti­lizes coach­es who are trained in top­ics like equi­ty and inclu­sion, finan­cial lit­er­a­cy, and men­tal health and pairs them with young peo­ple who are work­ing toward spe­cif­ic edu­ca­tion­al, employ­ment and finan­cial goals. The mod­el also calls for con­nect­ing par­tic­i­pants with sup­ple­men­tary ser­vices, like trans­porta­tion and child-care assistance.

Key Part­ners

  • Good­will of Cen­tral & South­ern Indi­ana, a non­prof­it, oper­ates The Excel Cen­ter, which is a free pub­lic school for adults who are pur­su­ing their high school diplo­ma and seek­ing help enter­ing the workforce.
  • Indiana’s Depart­ment of Work­force Devel­op­ment over­sees all state-led train­ing, employ­ment and adult edu­ca­tion programs.
  • EmployIndy serves as the local work­force devel­op­ment board for Mar­i­on Coun­ty. The nonprofit’s busi­ness solu­tions team con­nects with local employ­ers to bet­ter under­stand their work­force needs and align pro­gram­ming accordingly.

Defin­ing Success

To pre­pare more young peo­ple in Indi­anapo­lis for well-pay­ing career oppor­tu­ni­ties, the Gen­er­a­tion Work part­ner­ship is focused on inte­grat­ing indi­vid­u­al­ized coach­ing and work­force devel­op­ment ser­vices into more adult edu­ca­tion pro­grams. Such an effort calls for improv­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion among work­force agen­cies, com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions and employers.

Read More About Gen­er­a­tion Work in Indianapolis

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