CLEAR SKIES FOR TEENWORKS. TeenWorks is a primary summer youth employment program in Indianapolis that deploys the ABC approach -- A Job, Better Job, Career -- to integrate its programs into the economic and workforce development goals for Indiana employers. While TeenWorks is a current Clowes Fund grantee, the organization was first supported by the Fund through its Summer Youth Program Fund allocation to Youth Working for Indy. This collaborative funding effort introduced the Fund to TeenWorks' model of serving low income youth and opened the door for a direct grant. Current funding is being used to entice employers to become Corporate Worksite Partners and to provide TeenWorks youth with career-focused employment, skills development training and career exploration in high-demand, high-wage career sectors, and to ensure the capacity of TeenWorks staff to assess the personality, skills and career interests of participants. TeenWorks anticipates that after three years of philanthropic and government support, Corporate Worksite Partners will be fully integrated into the program and paying for 100% of hosted students' wages.
Clowes Fund staff visited two local TeenWorks worksites in July 2018: Children's Museum of Indianapolis; and a home revitalization worksite in the Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood. Youth at the Children's Museum worked on various projects to beautify the grounds, while those at the revitalization removed old and damaged walls in preparation for remodeling. Staff observed camaraderie and support between the youth work teams and their supervisors. Youth spoke of how the team-building and conflict resolution skills learned over their summer experience will help them in their future employment.
These youth have the opportunity to develop lifelong personal and career success through the TeenWorks program. One such success story is of a youth who was assigned to work at Indy Urban Acres, a multi-disciplinary inner-city farm, as a TeenWorks employee. This youth went on to be hired by Indy Urban Acres as a farm hand and now owns his own farm in South Carolina.
In the image, youth employees prepare house for remodeling in Indianapolis' Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood.