EmployIndy has launched an effort aimed at reversing the trend of people quitting their jobs because they don’t make enough money or don’t get the benefits they need. The organization has launched the Good Wages Initiative, which certifies and highlights employers throughout Marion County that provide full-time wages of at least $18 per hour and access to health insurance benefits.
“I think what matters most to the employers who are part of this program [is] having that opportunity to talk with other like-minded employers who are interested in making the same kinds of improvements in their wages,” said EmployIndy Chief Strategy Officer Marie Mackintosh.
Mackintosh joined Indianapolis-based B&W Plumbing President Beth Rovazzini on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk about the program.
“The companies who have gone through our application process are either certified or committed, and they get access to a full catalog of resources from EmployIndy and network in addition to us amplifying the good work that they’re doing through a lot of our social media and marketing channels alike,” said Mackintosh.
The program was born out a 2018 study from the Brookings Institution and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, which found that $18 per hour, paired with employer-sponsored health insurance, is the general living wage for the Indianapolis area.
The initiative has about two dozen certified employers. Rovazzini says being the only certified company in the plumbing, heating and air conditioning space sets B&W apart.
“And it also lets our applicants know that this is a good job, that this is different than some of the other jobs that they may be thinking about,” she said. “When you’re 18 to 21, there’s a lot of jobs that you qualify [for] because you’re entry-level and you’re not skilled, but it’s hard to know which ones can turn into careers and which ones have better opportunities. And, I think this will help identify our company as a better opportunity than some others.”
Additionally, businesses that aren’t yet paying full-time wages of at least $18 per hour and/or providing access to health benefits can receive “committed” status with the goal of becoming certified within two years.
Committed GWI employers can receive initial support to develop a plan for raising wages and reaching certified status, including technical assistance and networking opportunities.
Currently, Newfields and Second Helpings in Indianapolis are listed as committed GWI employers.
Mackintosh says success for the initiative would include many employers across a variety of industries looking to elevate their space.
“That leads to better productivity and less turnover for those employers,” she said. “And then for the community, success looks like the community understanding the value of buying from these employers or engaging with those employers who are doing it.”
The Good Wages Initiative is part of EmployIndy’s Choice Employers program and was funded at launch by a grand from Lilly Endowment Inc. in Indy.