INDIANAPOLIS (June 28, 2022) – Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), and EmployIndy, Marion County’s workforce development board, have received $6 million for three years from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation to support the scaling of Modern Youth Apprenticeship (MAP) in Marion County. In addition, the grant will help to enhance the connection between employers and education providers to enable expansion of youth career pathways in the state.

MAP is a three-year work-based learning experience starting in high school that combines paid employment, on-the-job learning, related academics, aligned college credit, and industry-recognized credentials. Ascend will receive $4 million to provide project oversight and systems leadership. EmployIndy will receive $2 million to continue implementation of the MAP program.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the continued leadership and partnership of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in building the youth apprenticeship movement in Indiana,” said Stephanie Bothun, vice president and co-founder, Ascend Indiana. “This transformative grant validates the significant progress to date, while establishing the foundation necessary to scale these programs and connect thousands of Hoosier high school students with youth apprenticeships over the next decade.

“Through this renewed funding, EmployIndy and Ascend have the opportunity to establish modern youth apprenticeship opportunities for nearly 400 Marion County students over the next three years, expand school and community based partnerships, and put employers in the driver’s seat of co-developing the next generation of talent,” said Marie Mackintosh, chief strategy officer, EmployIndy.

In May 2019, a broad coalition of Indianapolis stakeholders identified the opportunity for Indianapolis and the state to implement and scale youth apprenticeships toward a coordinated approach to a quality statewide education-to-employment system. To initiate this work, RMFF granted Ascend and EmployIndy $3 million at the end of 2019 to lead the development of a youth apprenticeship pilot in Marion County and the convening of a statewide coalition.

“Ascend and EmployIndy are charting the course for meaningful career pathways leading to higher rates of credential completion, degree attainment, and placement into good and promising jobs,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Together, these efforts will cement modern youth apprenticeship as a mainstream talent solution for employers as well as a successful education and career option for Indianapolis students.”

Through this support, Ascend and EmployIndy launched the Marion County pilot of MAP in 2020 with an initial cohort of 30 apprentices at 16 employers. On Saturday, June 25, 2022, the second cohort of youth apprentices attended MAP Signing Day to signify their commitment to work as apprentices for local employers over the next three years.

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation’s support also enabled Ascend to initiate and convene the statewide Community of Practice (COP), which consists of 125 members across almost 60 organizations and serves to address barriers to scaling modern youth apprenticeship programs statewide. In addition, the COP also assists in launching and overseeing a network of modern youth apprenticeship pilots across the state. Ascend hosted approximately 100 COP members on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Indianapolis to share learnings between those piloting programs across the state, Indiana policymakers, and State leaders to help grow and sustain this work in Indiana.

With this continued support from the Fairbanks Foundation, Ascend and EmployIndy, alongside other partners, will support employers to take a more active role in preparing their workforce starting with youth, enabling hundreds, and eventually thousands, more high school students in Indiana to earn the education and credentials that will prepare them for the good and promising jobs of the future.

About Ascend Indiana

An initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), Ascend Indiana is committed to making Indiana a place of economic opportunity for all. Ascend connects job seekers to good and promising career opportunities through an innovative job matching platform, the Ascend Network; catalyzes partnerships and provides consulting services to meet high-demand workforce needs through Ascend Services; and conducts research through Ascend Insights to enable systems-level change that positively impacts individuals throughout the state. To learn more, visit

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

About the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

Since 1986, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has strived to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people by addressing the city’s most significant challenges and opportunities. Through strategic grantmaking, research and evaluation, and cross-sector collaborations, the Foundation aims to improve outcomes across its three focus areas: Education, Health, and the Vitality of Indianapolis. Learn more at