Kofi Darku:                   00:00                Your work world is changing and we have the tools to help you succeed. This is the Skill Up Build Up podcast powered by the Morales Group where we are leading talent to thrive.

Kofi Darku:                   00:22                Well, football season is upon us and uh, we have some Fighting Irish fans in the house. We have the president and CEO of Employ Indy, Angie Carr Klitzsch on the Skill Up Build Up podcast today and we are so grateful that she is in the room.

Angela Carr:                  00:39                Thank you for having me.

Kofi Darku:                   00:40                Very, very happy to have you. And this is Kofi Darku, Director of Workforce Development. And we have my cohost, Adam Scholtes, Adam, you want to say a few things just to let the people know that you're here with us today?

Adam Scholtes:             00:55                Yeah, just two words, Kofi, go Irish.

Kofi Darku:                   00:57                Oh, it's a lot of Irish. A lot of Irish on the show today.

Angela Carr:                  01:02                Looking good this season, looking good.

Kofi Darku:                   01:02                Hey, it's just one game. I know though. You gotta embrace it while you can, not trying to taunt and we won't go into my team because I really don't have a good football team to, to support, so...

Adam Scholtes:             01:16                Vanderbilt.

Angela Carr:                  01:16                My sister went to Vanderbilt so...

Kofi Darku:                   01:18                There you go, anchored down. I can't believe we're, we're bringing this into the show. Yay. Yay. But before we go there, let's talk about workforce development. Let's talk about business development and let's talk about Employ Indy. So Angie, can you tell us what is Employ Indy and what state was Employ Indy in when you came on board?

Angela Carr:                  01:40                Sure, so Employ Indy is a nonprofit and we're the workforce development board for Marion County. So what that means is that we're empowered to invest public and private funding to ensure that our residents have the skills and the training, and the education needed to take advantage of the jobs in the local market, but concurrently we also work with employers to understand their talent needs and try to create those pipelines in those connectivity points. Um, particularly for the residents that maybe have not necessarily been thought of as assets in our community.

Kofi Darku:                   02:08                Oh, you are such a ringer for this show. Thank you for being on.

Adam Scholtes:             02:14                Okay, so can, can you dive in a little bit to the populations you serve? It's, I heard a little bit in there, it sounds like you guys serve employers as well as, you know, people looking for work.

Angela Carr:                  02:25                So the designation as the Workforce Development Board means that we're guided by 7,000 pages of regulations for one of our funding streams. We have 46 funding streams that actually come through our organization, um, and some of them are prioritized for certain demographics, but in particular our vision and mission is that we want to make sure that we're reaching out into neighborhoods where there's a disproportionate number of people who are un or underemployed and perhaps undereducated too for the marketplace and for the jobs that are really demanding a more high skill population at this point in time, you know, I think post recession 2008, there was an abundance of supply. We operate the Work Ones. Those are often considered, you know, unemployment centers. We're trying to change that branding, that mentality. These are places you go to change your life, right? Where you lean into resources and career navigation, um, so that you can be empowered to find your personal pathway to success to a quality of life.

Angela Carr:                  03:23                Um, but you know, we had people coming to our Work Ones that were wrapped around and they were highly skilled. There just weren't the jobs available. There's a paradigm shift now that there is an incredible amount of demand for uh, employees. Uh, but we don't see enough people participating and we don't see them having the same skill level that is really needed to undergird our economy right now. So we're trying to be more intentional and really reach out to community partners, work with the library systems, work with community based organizations, United Way agencies, faith based groups, and deliver our programming where people live, where they trust the resources that are already existed and then connect them to the employers that hopefully are in their neighborhood so that we can mitigate some of the transportation barriers, um, but if not that then connect them to employers and the additional social supports that they need to be able to not only find the job but retain the job.

Adam Scholtes:             04:24                So, so you're going, going to them, is what I hear, right?

Angela Carr:                  04:26                We are going to them much more intentional and focused. We all have limited resources in this environment. Um, the 7,000 pages of regulation that I referenced, those are formulaic funds and they're actually tied to the unemployment rate. So we have a lot less money in that bucket to serve people. So it's even more incumbent upon us to be smart about the resources, about your tax dollars and go out there into the neighborhoods and work with community partners so that we can all leverage each other's competencies.

Adam Scholtes:             04:56                That's good.

Kofi Darku:                   04:57                So I'm hearing you use words like intentional, uh, us, a lot of focused on community and involving a variety of members from the community in what you're doing. I'm taking it you're a transformational leader. So I want to expand this conversation a little bit because we're learning about what Employ Indy is now, what, what did it use to be what, what change have you brought about in the two years that you've been on board?

Angela Carr:                  05:26                Sure. We're trying to dismantle, I think the silos. So all those funding streams you can just plug and play, right? But really what does our community, what does our city need? And so what I did coming in in June of 2016 was really embark on a strategic planning process so that we could get buy in and we've landed on three high level objectives that we want you to hold us accountable as residents of Indianapolis. We want to reduce barriers for employers to find the talent that they need. And we're doing that, you know, through kind of static ways. You know, we do job fairs, we do hiring events, but we're also really bringing employers farther upstream, showing them that they have a role to play in the k through 12 education system, um, and, and also trying to, uh, give them a playbook of how best to really support their employees, right? There's things that they can do to really recruit, reduce their turnover rates. Um, you know, we've seen some creative solutions about offering health clinics onsite, childcare on site. Those are important things for people, particularly as you get it in that first rung on the ladder and not making a wage where you can actually afford those opportunities offsite. Our number two objective is really trying to create a positive trajectory for youth and young adults. In Marion County. We have 30,000 opportunity youth and unfortunately that name is a misnomer because opportunity means that opportunity youth means 16 to 24 year olds who are not engaged in education and who are not employed right now. This is a lost population and we need to do better as a city about reaching out to them, empowering them to uh, uh, have the resources to achieve their dreams and also just, um, inculcating hope, I guess, beyond the workforce development sphere sometimes when I talk about it, but these are young people who don't believe that if they do anything different, their life will be better growing up in multigenerational poverty and systems have failed them.

Angela Carr:                  07:27                And so what we're doing is trying to utilize philanthropic monies to just meet them where they're at, right? Like we're hosting on the far east side, 46235, we've created with partners like the Finish Line, Boys and Girls Club and the Community Alliance of the far Eastside, a community center there called the Pivot Reengagement Center. We're using existing real estate and sports as a hook to try to bring in young people and just build relationships before we kind of pull them through. It's not a, it's not a bait and switch, but it's like trying to pull them through to more transformational opportunities. Um, and I will tell you there is an untapped need for this, for a safe space for young adults to commune together over the summertime, we've opened up that space from seven to 11:00 PM. We fed these young adults, our goal was to reach 100 young people within two months we have reached 450.

Adam Scholtes:             08:17                That's great.

Angela Carr:                  08:18                It's a lot of pent up demand. So that's an intervention strategy I would say for young adults. And we are, um trying to really work with partners to embark on that, but we also do preventative work because it costs a lot less money and you know where to find them if they're in school already. So we operate like a, uh, we operate Jobs for America's Graduates program, so that's in the schools itself. Um, and we do a lot of other things of trying to make sure that young adults understand the career opportunities that are in front of them. The third high level objective that over the next five years we want to be held accountable for is really more of a place based solution. So this gets into the target neighborhoods, the five zip codes that we've chosen, um, will not surprise you. They're also a featured prominently on evening news, um because of violent crime.

Angela Carr:                  09:08                Um, all these issues are comorbid around poverty, employment, education, violence, crime, um, so we are being more intentional and holding ourselves accountable to serve a larger proportion of the population that are in those neighborhoods. We have some supply snapshots on our website. There's a plug, employindy.org, if you go to the resources page. Thank you very much. Um, but you know, it, it is masking the issue when we talk about the unemployment rate in Indianapolis is three point two percent. I mean it's functionally zero. You go into these target neighborhoods, 16, 18 percent unemployment and even more distressing is the 40 percent plus of working age adults who were not participating in the labor force. These are people who have given up hope. They don't believe that they could find a job. And if they did find a job, it's not worth their time. Right? Because the wages aren't commiserate with what it takes to really support a family.

Kofi Darku:                   10:01                Yeah. All right, audience, you are in the room with us now. We're not making any guarantees, but we are starting to talk about some of the root causes that bring us to certain problems that end up with certain populations not being connected with employment opportunity and as we know that our economy's doing well, the jobs are there. We need these jobs to be filled for the economy to continue to do well. We have Employ Indy that's working hard to target key zip codes that stand to benefit tremendously from these employment opportunities and helps our peers realize this is a good way for us to focus on making a change that's not only going to benefit our companies, but the people that are in our city as well. I want to talk about inclusive growth later, but there's still some things to unpack here and I'm just so grateful that you're on the show.

Angela Carr:                  10:57                I'm happy to be here and I'm happy to be participating with many other institutional partners in this solution. Right? I think that we've made the case statement. I'd like to think that most people have drank the koolaid and are wanting to participate in solutions, so working in conjunction with Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Ascend with the Indy Chamber. These are great institutions who reflect the business community's mentality and they are partners in this effort to really, um, not only attract and retain talent in an economic growth strategy, but try to build our homegrown talent too.

Kofi Darku:                   11:32                Yeah, sure. No, you're, you're touching on some key things and even as you described that at a basic level Employ Indy's a workforce development board that's leveraging public and private funds. I think we need to talk more about how the private industry is playing a role here because I think that's usually what's left out of the conversation and frankly to a certain degree it's, it's true in reality that we just needed more contribution from the private sector to try and help prevent some of these things from happening. So that's really, really refreshing. From my workforce development perspective, I'm really curious about your Job Ready program. Can you tell us a little bit about the Job Ready program?

Angela Carr:                  12:16                I'd be pleased to. I'm very proud and excited to talk about Job Ready. Um, so particularly given this labor market we were hearing from employers that, you know, I can train for the occupational skills, I need people who can show up on time, who can communicate well, who can manage conflict, you know, some of these soft skills or employability skills. So we worked in conjunction with the Indy Chamber as well as the mayor's office to create Job Ready Indy and you can visit at jobreadyindy.com, right? Um, so it's in totality about 30 to 35 hours of training for young adults. That's who we're piloting it with. Um, many of them who have not had that first job. And so how do we validate or help employers in the private sector believe that people who are coming to their doorstep that don't have that work history are job ready and this is our way to kind of mimic that. So it's a trainer of trainer models and so we've trained about, um, I think at this point it's probably over 100 different organizations. It's being deployed through the high schools as well, but what this allows is employers can now look for young people who actually have these badges. There's, as I mentioned, the 30 to 35 hours actually equivocates to six badges and um, and you know, these are things such as mindsets, right? Like everything that a young adult needs to be prepared not only to work, but also to envision what a career pathway looks like because we always say ABC, any job, better job, career. So for young adults in particular, it's any job that a job, but even then we're trying to prepare them for that. And then that six badges and really, you know, there's a, you know, they stack on top of each other.

Angela Carr:                  13:54                That's six badges really about individual identification of strengths, competencies and passions because that's really where success is going to lie for an individual is understanding what drives you, what gets you up in the morning. Yeah, understanding what you're good at, right? And hopefully those overlap and then understanding what the labor market needs, right? What does the world need? And so that Venn diagram and trying to find that bullseye is really the sweet spot, and Job Ready Indy allows that and you know, there are some technical functions that I think are pretty cool in that as part of the mayor's, Summer Youth Employment Initiative Project Indy, young people can go on an app and look for jobs around their neighborhood. It's geocoded so we can mitigate transportation barriers, but their badge populates on that app so then when they apply for a job, the employer can see that this person has been validated and is job ready.

Adam Scholtes:             14:44                Are you seeing that you, you mentioned within the Job Ready program that you're hearing from employers, the soft skills, that's what they need is, is that the biggest need right now to close that gap with employers is the soft skill piece?

Angela Carr:                  14:56                Definitely, I mean again, we have funding streams that allow for occupational training and the state has been investing with next level jobs in those kind of skills training. But really employers right now are just so hungry for, you know, people just to keep their productivity at a level where they can make money that they're willing to invest in individuals in that occupational training, um, as long as that they are loyal and gonna show up and, you know, retain them, et cetera. So that's where we're emphasizing a lot of this work around employability skills, but I believe it has legs beyond a young adult population. I think that we could probably leverage Job Ready Indy in the future for maybe our citizens who are reentering our communities. Um, and, and others too, again, it's just, um, it's dovetailing nicely. I'd like to think I was Machiavellian and from the beginning, but I'm not sure that really was the case, but you know, it's dovetailing with the state's mandate around graduation pathway and DWD's Employability Skills Framework, you know, that's, that's all wonderful, right? It's a guiding principle. How do you operationalize that? And we're trying to do that here for the Indianapolis community.

Kofi Darku:                   16:07                Yes. I mean, we have a promising future in central Indiana and Indianapolis. And as you talking about, as you're talking about operationalizing, how do we connect our youth with these opportunities and prepare them so that they perform well for the companies, the companies do well, but then we start to make them have a path or greater access to a higher quality of life and skills that give them some type of hope for their future. It's really critical that we succeed sooner than later. And so I'm happy that we have organizations focused on how we actually do that. The nuts and bolts of that. Wow. What a fun conversation. Is there anything else you'd like to say about career pathways and what Employ Indy is doing to try and prepare not only our youth but some of our working age adults that may be in a position to gain some more training or education to improve their outcomes. Can you speak to career path please?

Angela Carr:                  17:06                Sure. I think the one thing I'd like to say is the need for the creation of work based learning opportunities in a continuum of I think from the federal level, we often hear this buzzword of apprenticeships, right? Yeah. So, you know, but department of Labor apprenticeships are wonderful and we need to infuse those into different sectors beyond just the traditional ones we think of around the trades, uh, but that is kind of the, you know, the, the highest level, right. There's a lot of other things that employers can do to do work based learning opportunities onsite and that people don't have to stop participating in the labor force to skill up and come back. Many cannot absorb that opportunity. So we're trying to develop with the high schools right now, but again, we think that this is for adults as well, a work based learning continuum, particularly we're investing in IPS in their Career Academies that just launched this fall. How do we bring employers to the table and make sure that, um, they're opening up their facilities for site visits, that they're coming in and doing mock interviews, we just think that there's needs to be touches along the way from eighth grade starting with maybe Junior Achievement Job Spark, which is exposure. But then where are the experiences and the other touchpoints as young people progress through high school and even through whether it's college or working immediately and we need to, as a society, can I just get a little philosophical here? Since I'm a Philosophy major as an Undergrad. Um, we need as a society to value the dignity of work and belief that whatever your path is post high school, whether you go into the world of work, whether you enlist, whether you go into higher education, postsecondary education, all of those are valid pathways and they don't predetermine your destiny, right? It's very fluid. Um, and so, you know, that's hard for me and my mentality and when I think about my kids, I think I have a bias for them to attend a four year institute, Jen. Um, but that shouldn't be the case for us. We should value all of those pathways.

Adam Scholtes:             19:08                On that point, Angie, can you talk a little bit more about the k through 12 structure? What needs, what, what specifically needs to change? You talked a little bit about, you know, having companies open to bringing those kids in, but you know, what specifically within the k 12 structure, do we need to change there?

Angela Carr:                  19:25                I mean, I think contextualizing of the curriculum so that young people see where that connects to the work, right? Um, again, I think liberal arts have a huge, a place, a role to play in society were like we need educated citizens who vote and who understand the constitution and all that. Um, but you know, it's hard for young people oftentimes to see how that some geology class is actually aligning to anything out there in the real world. And so we really need businesses to come farther upstream and to help young people understand and connect how the curricula is influencing and actually mean something to, you know, 21st century economy as well.

Kofi Darku:                   20:11                All right Angie, thank you so much for your insight on the show. Again today. We have a few more questions that we were hoping to get your thoughts on. Okay. Adam, shoot.

Adam Scholtes:             20:19                Angie, morning or night person?

Angela Carr:                  20:22                For work, morning for fun, night.

Adam Scholtes:             20:24                What's your routine in the morning before you get going?

Angela Carr:                  20:28                Well, you know, the kids usually wake me up and I feed them and do whatever they need and then I get around to myself. So yeah.

Kofi Darku:                   20:36                That's the way it works. So if you could think of all the mentors you've had in your life, I mean, it sounds like you've had some, who is your most influential mentor and why?

Angela Carr:                  20:51                Um, so, uh, my first boss here in Indianapolis and a dear friend of mine who was also a mentor, her name is Beth Casselman, she's the executive director of the Clowes Fund, it was the first foundation I worked for and she continues to this day to really support me, be a great sounding board and really did so much to introduce me to other stakeholders in Indianapolis. And I learned by osmosis, you know, my background is in philanthropy. There's not, I mean there's a degree I have that too, but like how do you do the work? Um, there's no handbook. And so I'll be able to be by her side and actually watch her navigate. I've taken a lot of those things to heart and um, she's just a great person to.

Adam Scholtes:             21:35                That's good. Book recommendations?

Angela Carr:                  21:39                So I think I was lamenting that I'm reading a lot of white papers now, so that's not as much as fun reading. Um, but you know, every once in a while I go back to The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I find it to be inspirational, aspirational and um, you know, easy read too, late at night.

Adam Scholtes:             21:58                That's good. Awesome.

Kofi Darku:                   22:00                Well you have equipped me with a dozen more phrases that I normally take about 20 words to say, but you got it in round five and they're going to help me to advance the causes and the issues that I know we're collaborating on together. Thank you so much for being on this episode, Angie. It's been really fun.

Angela Carr:                  22:20                Thank you for having me and thanks for the work of Morales Group, you guys are a wonderful partner and doing a lot for our city, so thank you.

Kofi Darku:                   22:26                The alliance will bring about some great things in this region.

Adam Scholtes:             22:30                Kofi would a great discussion with Angie. Really enjoyed the ABC, get any job, get a better job, then you get a career, also loved there, kind of towards the end, value the dignity of work. I think that's something we definitely have to do more of.

Kofi Darku:                   22:44                Employ Indy has a transformational leader in place in Angie. She's bringing the philanthropic, the corporate, and the community all together to bring about some change that we need here. I was really struck with how she's focusing on dismantling the silo. I feel that 100 percent, and this could be the closest thing to a silver bullet, that we've encountered. Her focus on the need for a continuum of work based learning that helps us deal with the youth and adults where they are, could be what we really need to be focusing on right now to get ready for all the jobs that are coming down the pike. Please check out skillupbuildup.com to stay in tune with this conversation and we'll see you next time.