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Hiring Hoosiers: Construction training expands with focus on reducing barriers, offering services

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Posted at 8:31 PM, Jun 24, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — A new initiative begins this summer with the goal to train and place 1,000 new workers in Central Indiana's construction industry over the next 5 years.

"Through this opportunity what we are able to do is build on the success we've already had and really offer additional services that truly are going to meet the needs of individuals who are working their way out of poverty or who have other barriers that have provided challenges towards being fully successful," Nate Klinck with the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation said.

Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation is a non-profit that focuses on helping Hoosiers develop skills and find a pathway into the construction industry through their BY Program.

The program will soon be expanding with help from a $7.3 million grant from the Lilly Endowment's Enhancing Opportunity initiative.

Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation is partnering with the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Indianapolis Legal Aid and Neighborlink Indianapolis for the program they are now calling BY Plus.

"People who are coming into this training have a lot of barriers to completion of the training. Some of them have had their drivers license revoked, Indianapolis Legal Aid will be helping with that and other legal issues that keep people from succeeding and completing the training and succeeding at the workplace," Brian Payne, President and CEO of Central Indiana Community Foundation, said.

Other wrap around services will include childcare and transportation if needed. Participants will also get hands-on paid training working on homes that are owned by seniors or those with a disability in the community with Neighborlink.

"Those home repairs are typically citations by the Marion County Public Health Department. Sometimes they are simply something that someone has submitted if someone has contacted us through the 211 system just to say they've got some issues on their home that could cause some safety concerns," Rachel Nelson, Director of External Affairs & Communications for Neighborlink Indianapolis, said.

Kay Toliver was cited for several issues on her Indianapolis home that she's lived in since 1978. She is recently retired and was unable to make the improvements; that's when she found out about Neighborlink.

"This is my life and to be able to keep this and them helping to keep this, it means the world to me, it really does," Toliver said.

Payne believes giving participants a chance to give back while receiving help will be beneficial for those taking part in the BY Plus program.

"We think that can be transformative, they are paying it forward, they are giving back and the great feeling of purpose and self-esteem of being able to help others," Payne said.

Classes for the BY Plus program will officially begin in August and run 8 weeks. They are held at community centers throughout the county.

You must be at least 18-years-old and live in Marion County to enroll. After completing the class, participants receive industry recognized certifications and leaders hold a job fair with companies looking for entry level employees.