INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There are more job openings in the construction industry today than any other time in the last 10 years, according to the national bureau of labor statistics.
A free training program is helping unemployed Hoosiers fill those jobs in just two weeks.
“Our main goal is to get them formally accepted into the apprenticeship program of their choice,” said Devon Doss, Executive Director of Indiana Plan.
Doss is a graduate of the program himself. He grew up on the east side of Indianapolis and attended college for a year before realizing it wasn't for him. He was looking for something else when he found Indiana Plan.
"It’s been a life changing opportunity for me,” Doss said.
Doss graduated and immediately found a job working on the new Circle Centre Mall site as an electrician.
"To be able to walk around and say ‘hey I'm an electrician,’ just after a few weeks of work, and know that I had a career path and a vision and a direction of where I'm going, that was big for me,” Doss said.
More than 20 years later, he's the director of the program, which has been around since 1970. It's free, and takes just two weeks. Every graduate who wants a job, gets one.
"As soon as they finish class, they will have an opportunity to go out and work,” Doss said. "We are a recruiting tool for union building trades. Our main focus is on women, minorities, disadvantaged workers and ex-offenders.”
After spending the last two years in prison, 25-year-old Andres Espinoza was having a hard time landing a job. Now as a student with Indiana Plan, he feels like he was given a new start.
“It kind of gives you a new breath, you know what I'm saying," Espinoza said. "That you might be able to achieve and succeed in what you want to do.”
For other students, like Marion Jackson, this is their first training after high school. He found out about the program and chose it because it's much cheaper and quicker than college.
“I see it as a great opportunity and more people should take advantage of it because in the world of trade, there’s always going to be good opportunities (that) lie ahead of you,” Jackson said.
By giving students the tools they need on the job, Indiana Plan hopes to give them the tools they need to build a future and a career.
“Not jobs, we want to focus on careers," Doss said. "Getting into something where you can get a skill, go out and make a livable wage.”
Indiana Plan has four courses every year both in Indianapolis and Gary.
Applicants must have a driver's license, and high school diploma or GED. To apply, visit their website www.indianaplan.org.
Indiana Plan is a 501(c)3 funded by grants and donations.