EmployIndy has officially launched its YES Indy Re-Engagement Centers. The centers are expanding to two additional locations at Eastern Star Church and Mount Carmel Church following the soft launch of a pilot site over a year ago with the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the far east side.
The centers are aimed to help residents ages 16-24 who have disconnected from education or employment by using open gym basketball to bring them to a space where career services can be offered.
The first REC launched last yearat the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club. According to EmployIndy, more than 1,200 individuals have visited the center since it opened last May to play basketball, many of whom would meet the criteria to receive YES Indy services.
EmployIndy has negotiated relationships with adult education providers and local businesses for referrals. The collaborative efforts aim to have lasting impact on the crime, poverty and economic mobility in the neighborhoods where RECs are located.
“Reconnecting disconnected young adults with education and employment opportunities is an important element of our strategy for inclusive growth,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett in a news release. “When young people in all of our city’s neighborhoods have access to postsecondary education and good paying jobs, we see greater social and economic equality, as well as successes in crime reduction and an increase in the overall sense of security for youth and their families across Indianapolis.”
To support the project, EmployIndy has secured funds from grantors such as Lilly Endowment, the Starbucks Foundation, the City of Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety and the Community Leadership Innovation Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation.