Update from Dr. Sean L. Huddleston
Martin Works, shifting from an urban work college model into a Career Connections Program, received a 1 million dollar grant from Lilly Endowment to prompt the start of the pilot program. The focus of the program is to connect students with employers to provide paid work assignments, internships, & experiential learning opportunities geared towards their field of study. In May of 2021, the pilot program will begin with an 8-week boot camp in the Martin Works Academy to allow students to meet with HR professionals and the Department of Workforce Development to help prepare them to work while being in school, leading them into their employer assignment in hopes of bridging the gaps between graduation and landing a career. The program is set to last a year and will not only steer students toward their desired field of study but also help determine what curriculum adjustments need to be implemented. Among the task force, comprised of Ezell Marrs, Candace Pate, Gayle Spice, & Dr. Mattie Jones, is lead consultant Amanda Lockett, who has a background in minority serving institutions.
For an employer or institution being a part of the Martin Works program must ensure mutual benefit for both parties. Eskenazi, USA Track & Field, Circle City Broadcasting, First Financial Bank, Ascend Indiana, Department of Workforce Development, Eleven Fifty Academy, and Ivy Tech have come alongside and extended their partnerships with Martin University. Among them, we’ve also formed an essential partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building, which has a Career Building Initiative, making Martin University one of the only Predominantly Black Institutions involved in the initiative. This affiliation will come with a grant to connect Martin Works, led by Dr. Michael Couch. Resource allocation will be determined via data captured through a faculty & staff survey and compared to established goals. Surveys will be administered in the coming weeks, with 100% participation expected.
Center for Racial Equity & Inclusion
The Center for Racial Equity & Inclusion, whose purpose is to assist leaders and organizations in their efforts to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion, is set to launch in January of 2021. While still in the planning phase, the center has drawn not only attention but also funding to help with the center’s growth. Several businesses signed the Indy Racial Equity Pledge to help address racial inequality & injustice throughout Indianapolis through a commitment of resources, with education being an area of focus. Among those businesses, Martin University not only signed the pledge but also made three additional pledges. We pledged to continuously do all we can as a point of access for higher education toward those disenfranchised, be a convening space for training and developing conversations around diversity, equity, & inclusion, and be a “communiversity.” By signing the pledge, not only will we draw the attention of others, we hope to form direct partnerships, making us a leader of racial equality and prompting other institutions to look toward us for assistance in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.
We welcome any ideas and interests to work with the center, as we believe there is a place for everyone. To read more on Martin University’s pledge to the community, visit https://indyracialequitypledge.com/pledge-martin.