INDIANAPOLIS — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana has an unemployment rate of 3%. That's .7% lower than the national average. Because of that, employers are having a hard time filling open positions. Now, the "Indy Chamber" is working with businesses to help attract more employees, specifically those considered to be minorities. The program is offering free business consulting to 19 businesses.
Felicia Grady is one of the businesses included in the program. She owns Plate It Up Catering. She started her business in 2019 right before the pandemic, but she does more than catering events.
"Plate it up catering is several things under one umbrella. We cater, I am a SERV safe proctor, I am an educator and I have a few culinary workshops," Grady said.
She has a lot on her plate and doesn't have a consistent staff that helps her with all she does.
"It's been really challenging,” Grady said. “I tried to reach back to the community like second helpings and they kind of were going through a different change in their programing, so I haven't been able to pull from them like I use to."
The Indy Chamber says that small and midsized businesses are huge economic drivers for the city. This program will focus on strategies rather than perks for employees, like offering PTO For things like vaccinations.
"There are vaccinations that have disproportionate outcomes uptake rates based on racial demographics,” Taylor Hughes, V.P Policy and Strategy at the Indy Chamber said. “Providing PTO for people to be able to go and get their vaccines to be proactive when it comes to their health."
As for Grady she hopes she can learn how to retain employees while also growing her business.
"My short-term goal right now is to hopefully in the spring have a food truck,” Grady said. “I can't do all of that. So, I’d love to have someone that I can hire and say 'hey you take care of that part and I'm going to take care of this part.'
This 5-stage program will begin in January and last for two years. Each company receives businesses consulting free of charge. For more information about the Indy Chamber click here.