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New partnership involving former NFL player aims to help more black Hoosiers get jobs in tech field

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Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 11:44:02-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A movement is now underway to add 41,000 new tech workers in Indiana by the year 2030 in order to help employers find, attract and retain talent.

Launch Mission41K has caught the attention of former NFL player and current Indiana resident Emil Ekiyor.

"Once I retired, one of the things I left with was how well that industry developed talent," Ekiyor said.

Ekiyor played for the Raiders and Falcons over his six-year career. He's now the CEO and Founder of Innopower Inc. which focuses on accelerating economic productivity in black communities.

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Emil Ekiyor, CEO & Founder of Innopower Inc.

"So the entire model of the NFL is predicated on getting talent from the poorest black communities in our country, every young black kid from those communities feels like if they work hard and believe in themselves, they can make it to the NFL and they're willing to do whatever it takes to make it."

Ekiyor believes the same model can be replicated in industries like tech that are growing fast.

"But what is the path to do that? What is the playbook? How does that happen?" Ekiyor said.

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Dennis Trinkle and Emil Ekiyor discuss new partnership with WRTV's Nicole Griffin.

After attending Launch Mission 41K, Ekiyor developed a new partnership with TechPoint to help answer that question. In December, they are holding design thinking sessions in Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne and Gary.

  • December 6 in Indianapolis at Eastern Star Church at 5750 30th St.
  • December 7 in Gary at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at the John Will Anderson Gary Boys & Girls Club
  • December 15 in Fort Wayne at Job Works at 7230 Engle Rd., Ste 213

"How does your community fit into this? What resources are available? Or what resources do you need? What barriers do you face? What ideas do you have?' Ekiyor said.

WRTV first reported on TechPoint's Launch Mission 41K initiative in September. One of the main goals is to encourage employers to adopt skills-based hiring rather than requiring degrees.

"If we want to set Indiana apart from other states, we've just got to have a robust talent pipeline," Dennis Trinkle, Techpoint's Executive VP for Talent said.


The movement will not only help employers, but TechPoint believes it will increase diversity in tech.

"If you look at the workforce overall, about 10% of the workforce is people of color, but only about 6% right now are in the tech workforce," Trinkle said. "It weeds out an awful lot of black talent that has the skills to do those jobs, that has the interest, and never even gets a look because they don't have the right degree or credential on the resume."

Trinkle and Ekiyor agree there is a lot of work to be done in the years ahead.

"The ultimate goal is to look back in 2030 and say that because we did these things today, we're able to get more of our black and brown Hoosiers into high-paying jobs, high-wage jobs in our city," Ekiyor said.

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