By: Ron Smith, Senior Director of Education Initiatives, and Jennifer Stredler, Vice President, Workforce Development
Less than a year ago, we celebrated the opening of the Indianapolis Salesforce Tower, and since then the local tech scene has continued to thrive. Local news is saturated with stories about companies and startups choosing Indianapolis as a place to grow tech jobs. According to Software.org, Indiana is the #2 state in the country for software jobs growth, with a 32% job growth rate since 2014.
There is excitement in the air and the city is rapidly changing to meet the demands of the growing tech industry. However, with all this change, we must make sure that youth are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities needed to succeed from the classroom to the boardroom. At Salesforce.org, equal education and equal opportunity are key pillars in our fight for equality. We invest in organizations that are building pathways to tomorrow’s jobs, ensuring young adults are Future Ready.
Today, Salesforce.org is proud to share two investments, totaling $700,000, made to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and Ivy Tech Community College Foundation (Ivy Tech). Both of these institutions are critical to building a Future Ready workforce for Central Indiana.
Building Tech-Ready Teens in Indianapolis
As part of our commitment to education, Salesforce.org donated $500,000 to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to support enhanced college and career readiness, including the launch of the Information Technology Academy at George Washington High School for the 2018-2019 school year.
IPS career academies give students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in high-wage, high-demand job sectors. IPS seeks to ensure that each of its 30,000 students graduate on time, prepared to successfully enroll in college, enlist in the military or gain employment with a livable wage. The new IT Academy at George Washington High School will have three pathways (informatics, IT support, software development).
Salesforce.org grant funds will support:
- Physical renovations and capital investment in the 21st century labs and technology needed to implement project-based curriculum
- Professional development for educators in the district’s IT Academy
- Creating a culture of college and career success through family and community engagement sessions at every IPS Future Center, the district’s new counseling resource centers
- Building capacity for IPS to launch, develop and manage partnerships with employers and post-secondary institutions
This grant builds on our employees’ tremendous volunteer support: more than 90% of of our Indianapolis employees volunteer with schools and nonprofits through the use of their volunteer time off (VTO). Our employees will continue these efforts with this expanded IPS partnership, volunteering in the classroom and hosting IT Academy students at our offices for tours and site visits.
Ensuring Local Women are Work-Ready
Ivy Tech Community College Foundation received $200,000 from Salesforce.org to increase the number of Indianapolis women enrolling in and completing tech career pathways with industry-backed credentials and paid internships at local employers. Our grant will connect students from the Ivy Works – Indy Women in Tech (IWiT) program with internships at local tech employers, while the students are in pursuit of technical degrees.
The IWiT program at Ivy Tech is designed to give diverse women learners the support they need to earn industry-backed credentials and build a career in one of Indiana’s fastest-growing fields. The end goal is to connect students to full time jobs in the tech sector after they complete the program, putting them on a path to economic mobility. Our grant will jump start the paid tech internships and engage employers in building more inclusive workplaces with diverse talent. Notably, given our grant funding to ensure paid internships, students facing economic barriers will be able to prioritize training-related jobs, helping them gain valuable career-related experience.
Ivy Tech is Indiana’s largest public post-secondary institution and is the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, serving nearly 200,000 students annually. In addition to this grant, Salesforce partners with Ivy Tech for its Pathfinder program, which trains local students to become certified Salesforce Administrators.
Education Matters to Enable a Future Ready Workforce
We believe that every young adult – regardless of zip code or circumstance – deserves an opportunity to thrive. Every student, especially girls and underrepresented students, should have the skills to participate in our digital future. And every young adult should be skilled up to contribute to the workforce in a meaningful way and have access to opportunities to realize their full potential. We are excited to help teens and young adults in Indianapolis advance on their pathway to the future.
To learn more about our commitment to a future-ready workforce, explore our education and workforce development initiatives.