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As Indy’s economy grows, so does hiring – across industries, occupations and skill levels. But when companies can’t find job-ready applicants, open positions turn into missed opportunities. It can be especially daunting for young people to find their way into the workforce… fortunately help is on the way

The Indy Chamber, Mayor Joe Hogsett, EmployIndy, and other civic and educational partners have collaborated to create Job Ready Indy, a program to teach employability skills to young people (primarily aged 16-24) across Marion County.

It’s widely understood that Indy needs a strong pool of skilled science, technology, and engineering workers, while tackling the technical demands of fields like manufacturing and construction. But we have a more basic challenge, too – preparing entry-level employees with workplace fundamentals like a positive mindset, self-management, learning strategies, social skills, and customer service.

Employers continue to tell us these “soft-skills” are increasingly hard to find. The Indy Chamber worked closely with EmployIndy to develop a practical curriculum, engaging our members to identify critical workplace competencies and ensure that ‘Job Ready’ lives up to the name.

The program will be delivered in partnership with providers validated by EmployIndy. Participants will earn ‘badges’ in the areas mentioned above to give companies the confidence they’re hiring positive, productive workers.

But to make Job Ready Indy a success, we need the business community’s continued involvement. I urge all Indy Chamber members to step up and join the Job Ready Indy network – take advantage of the initiative that you helped design.

By doing so, employers agree to give added consideration to Job Ready Indy ‘graduates’ for entry-level openings. It’s a win-win: You get a head start on hiring quality workers while providing much-needed opportunities, experience and encouragement to Indy’s future workforce.

Not every employer is in a position to employ these participants, but there are other opportunities to get involved. You can engage with students in the classroom through sharing industry career paths, mock interviews and resume reviews, or offer learning experiences at your place of business with a group tour, job shadow, or mentorship.

But the first and most critical step is connecting with the program – sign up to get involved at JobReadyIndy.org/employers.

As a member, you know the Indy Chamber is redefining economic development – and that means rethinking workforce development from pre-K to post-secondary education and beyond. Job Ready Indy is another important piece of the inclusive growth puzzle: Giving young people a positive introduction to the world of work is a great investment in economic mobility, and a stronger pipeline of talent for all local employers.

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