Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy launch modern apprenticeship program for high school students in high-demand fields

October 27, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 27, 2020) – EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana today launched a new apprenticeship model for Indianapolis high school students to prepare them for the future in high-demand industries. Modern Apprenticeship (MAP) is a paid two- to three-year work-based learning experience with local employers, where students will emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials and professional experience. This pilot apprenticeship program starts during an Indianapolis student’s junior year of high school.

Up to 30 students from five Indianapolis-area township school districts and charter schools* will be hired by one of 16 employers* representing a variety of growing, high-demand industries including information technology, financial services, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. Additional apprenticeship opportunities are also available in business operations including human resources, sales and marketing.

Modern Apprenticeship enables high school students to attain soft skills, technical skills and relevant work experience, while excelling in their high school and postsecondary coursework. During the first two years of the apprenticeship, students spend a portion of their day in school and a portion of their day working. In their third year, they focus primarily on their job while finishing the requirements for their industry recognized credential. This schedule provides students with the flexibility to maintain extracurricular activities and social connections while in high school. EmployIndy will also come alongside employers, supervisors, mentors and students by providing support to ensure students are developing professionally and progressing successfully through the program.

“As employers’ demand for highly skilled talent continues to grow in our community, we must establish a system of support to close the equity gap for Indianapolis students,” said Marie Mackintosh, chief strategy officer, EmployIndy. “We have partnered with regional and national career readiness initiatives to pilot a program that provides students with quality, career-relevant experiences combined with classroom learning that will prepare young people for a successful transition to college and jobs of the future.”

The occupations currently available to apprentices include junior coder, quality assurance tech, IT support tech, medical assistant, billing and coding specialist, staff accountant, maintenance technician and project coordinator. Students in the program will earn an average of $13 per hour for their work.

“By providing work-based learning opportunities to high school students from diverse backgrounds, Indianapolis will be able to prepare a strong workforce aligned with 21st century employer demand,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “In addition, having work experience will be especially critical for students as the economy reshapes following COVID-19 and the job market becomes even more competitive.”

“We are thrilled to work alongside Marion County’s workforce development board, EmployIndy, and Ascend Indiana to explore ways to deliver paid employment, on-the-job learning, and related high school and postsecondary classroom-based instruction for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “To further support the Modern Apprenticeship program, the City of Indianapolis will hire up to five apprentices to work in various departments within the City-County enterprise.”

Momentum has been building in Indiana and nationwide to develop models for connecting employers and high school students, with Modern Apprenticeship being one approach. Through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, this model is being established in Indianapolis, with plans to coordinate learnings and share best practices statewide.

“In 2019, an Indiana coalition came together to create a modern apprenticeship strategy by benchmarking with established programs in Switzerland and emerging initiatives in Colorado, Washington and South Carolina,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “What we learned has guided our plans for the modern apprenticeship pilot and our vision for a statewide system. At the core, Modern Apprenticeship is an options multiplier that provides more than one structured pathway for Indiana’s high school students to achieve success following graduation.”

*Participating Indianapolis-area Township School Districts and Charter Schools: Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Phalen Leadership Academy, Pike High School, Washington Township and Victory College Prep

*Participating Employers: Ascend Indiana, Ascension St. Vincent, City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Katz Sapper & Miller, iLAB, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indy Chamber, Ivy Tech Community College, OneAmerica, Roche Diagnostics, Skillful Indiana, TechPoint, The Heritage Group and UnitedHealthcare

  • To learn more about Modern Apprenticeship (MAP), visit indymodernapprenticeship.com.
  • Modern Apprenticeship video can be found HERE.
  • Quotes from the Modern Apprenticeship pilot employers can be found below.

About EmployIndy
EmployIndy guides the local workforce ecosystem and makes strategic investments to remove barriers to quality employment for underserved and underrepresented residents. Our vision is for all Marion County residents to have access to services and training necessary to secure a livable wage and grow in a career that meets employer demand for talent. As the workforce development board for Marion County, guided by 24 business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy invests $20 million in public, private and philanthropic funds for both youth and adults annually. Learn more at employindy.org.

About Ascend Indiana

Ascend Indiana is the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an organization that brings together industry, higher education and philanthropic leaders to advance our region’s prosperity and growth. Ascend’s vision is for Indiana to be a place of economic opportunity for all. To achieve this, Ascend bridges talent and communication gaps by creating connectivity between people and employers. Ascend has focused its efforts around three core priorities: connecting job seekers to career opportunities through the Ascend Network talent platform, catalyzing transformative employer and education partnerships through Ascend Services, and informing workforce research and public policy through thought leadership. To learn more, visit ascendindiana.com.

About the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation strives to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people by addressing the city’s most significant challenges and opportunities. The Foundation is focused on three issue-areas: education, health, and the vitality of Indianapolis. To advance its work, the Foundation implements a three-pronged approach: strategic grantmaking, evidence-based advocacy, and cross-sector collaborations and convenings. Learn more at www.rmff.org.

Quotes from Modern Apprenticeship Pilot Employers:

Ascension St. Vincent: “Ascension St. Vincent is thrilled to be partnering with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy to improve the attraction of a diverse healthcare workforce through several innovative work-based training and education programs for high school students. We share the mutual goal of not only promoting an inclusive culture of engaged associates within the workplace, but also strengthening the communities we serve.”

Cindy Adams, chief nursing officer, Ascension St. Vincent 

Indianapolis Airport Authority: “The Indianapolis Airport Authority believes incorporating an apprentice program into our workforce development initiatives will develop the skills needed to address 21st century workforce challenges by creating a pipeline of skilled employees, better matching of employee skills and character with our needs and culture as well as development of future managers.”

Mario Rodriguez, executive director, Indianapolis Airport Authority

Indy Chamber: “The Indy Chamber is pleased to support the launch of the Modern Apprenticeship initiative, as well as the broader workforce programming of EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana. Partnerships like this allow the Chamber to provide our business community access to top-tier resources for their workforce development needs while staying true to our core mission.”

Mark Fisher, chief policy officer, Indy Chamber

Ivy Tech Community College: “Ivy Tech has been a partner each step of the way in the movement to create and implement a robust youth apprenticeship strategy in Indiana. In addition to our involvement in developing strategy, policies, and practices, we believe the best way for us to demonstrate our commitment to youth apprenticeships is to be an early adopter. We like to think of this as putting an outstanding idea into action as one of the first employers in our state to hire students through the emerging Modern Apprenticeship program.”

Chris Lowery, senior vice president of Workforce and Careers, Ivy Tech

Katz, Sapper & Miller: “As a pilot partner in the Modern Apprenticeship program, Katz, Sapper & Miller is excited to explore a new avenue for identifying and nurturing young talent, while providing meaningful work-based opportunities for high school students who otherwise might not be exposed to a career in public accounting. It’s a win all around – for participating students, for their schools, and for us as an employer.”

Jim Nestor, chief human resources officer, Katz, Sapper & Miller

OneAmerica: “OneAmerica is eager to be a Modern Apprenticeship employer partner. Through our Pathways Program, we’ve seen firsthand how workforce development innovation can make a positive impact for students and employers. Modern Apprenticeship extends this work, and we are delighted to create a pipeline of talent by introducing even more students to careers in financial services.”

Scott Davison, president and CEO, OneAmerica

Roche Diagnostics: “Roche understands the importance of cultivating a career-ready workforce, which is why we invest heavily in our collegiate Summer @ Roche internship program, our Accelerated Development Program and our Roche Academy partnership with the University of Indianapolis. Through the Modern Apprenticeship program, we’ll be able to extend our outreach even further as we develop and learn from area high school students.”

Terra Doyle, Integrated Workforce Strategies Practice lead, Recruiting Americas, Roche Diagnostics

Skillful: “We are delighted to support the new Modern Apprenticeship for Indianapolis high school students, both as a contributor to the development of this program, and as an employer.  With the focus on skills-based practices which this initiative has adopted, employers can more easily match the skills they need with those a student can provide, and provide crucial on-the-job experience for students.”

Bill Turner, executive director, Skillful Indiana and National Rework America Alliance Delivery, Markle Foundation

TechPoint: “Apprenticeships provide a compelling model for harmonizing education with employment and expanding diversity and equity in the talent pipeline. TechPoint is happy to partner in this pilot both as an employer and in support of our members, who are the state’s most important tech employers.”

Mike Langellier, president and CEO, TechPoint

The Heritage Group: “We are excited to partner with Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy on this important initiative. This investment in talent, education, and experiences will help connect the next generation of talent to careers at The Heritage Group and build a pathway for economic mobility in our community.”

Betsy McCaw, executive vice president of People + Organizational Capabilities, The Heritage Group