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The program helps young people learn skills and take charge of their future

INDIANAPOLIS – Two years after finding himself behind bars for a crime he committed when he was 18, Jacobey Echols has hope for his future.

“They helped me write a plan, they gave me the courage and the mental strength to move forward,” he said.

Echols talks about the help he received from the Edna Martin Christian Center in the community of Martindale Brightwood.

“With this stuff in my past, I can’t do a good job like I used to, so I have to settle for a few pennies and I don’t. I’d rather find another way to get it,” Echols said.

The center is one of many places across town where 16-24 year olds can take advantage of the EmploymentIndy youth employment system. It’s called Yes Indy and aims to help young adults find a path to a promising career.

Yes Indy offers soft skills training, employer presentations, and career fairs to help give attendees a foundation.

Kelly Evans, Edna Martin’s Youth and Reintegration Coordinator, says many participants return to the community after falling victim to the criminal justice system or struggling in mainstream school. The aim is to help young people find a job.

“There is a huge need for this in our community… often our children are pushed into traditional areas like you have to go to college to earn that amount of money, so it helps our children not to feel so under. pressure and gives them another way to learn how to make money, ”Evans said.

There is also Edna Martin’s Earn and Learn initiative, which allows participants to earn a stipend while learning skills and achieving certifications in different areas like logistics, culinary arts and hospitality for four weeks.

“We are working on their finances as well as their jobs to teach them how to manage money once they start making money which is absolutely great,” Evans said.

Soon they will be offering training and certification in audio video technology.

Echols is a singer and rapper passionate about music. Since he records and directs his own music videos, he was offered an internship position at Edna Martin in the audiovisual technology department. He is now working to help kickstart the training program.

“I was excited because that was all I wanted to do; we have the green screen, the cameras, the stand [and] studio lights. We have it all, ”Echols said.

The goal of the program is to have participants trained and ready to work in 14 weeks. All services are free, including high school equivalency courses, job training, and job and financial coaching.

Training and certifications are available for in-demand jobs such as healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing, logistics and construction.

You can start by texting the word “connect” to 317 597-8068.

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