OneZone: Onward and Upward in 2020 With New President

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June 2020

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year for the Hamilton County business community is a gross understatement. However, OneZone, the chamber of commerce for Fishers and Carmel, Indiana, has remained steadfast in its mission to serve the business interests of its 1,300 collective members and advocate in an ever-changing marketplace on behalf of its members.

OneZone Names Jack Russell as Its President

On June 12, 2020, the OneZone Board of directors named its interim president, Jack Russell, as president, following a regional search and the retirement of Mo Merhoff in March. Russell served as president of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce prior to serving OneZone as chief operating officer. Currently, Russell serves as a board member for the Indiana Chamber Executive Association and is a member of the Hamilton County Workforce Recovery Task Force.

OneZone: Onward and Upward
Jack Russell

“Our businesses need us more than ever,” Russell expressed. “I’ve learned a lot from Mo [Merhoff] and am willing to accept the challenges ahead and make sure that we continue to have a strong business voice. I am proud to have the opportunity to be the president of this organization and to continue to create strong partnerships for businesses [such as OneZone’s recent partnership with Ascend Indiana] and to advocate, educate and connect people through strong programming and initiatives.”

Focusing on Getting People Back to Work in Hamilton County

Earlier this month, OneZone and Ascend Indiana announced a partnership with the goal to attract talent to Hamilton County by connecting employers with college students looking for jobs and internships.

OneZone, the chamber of commerce for Fishers and Carmel, Indiana, and Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, are announcing a collaboration to help college students find jobs—and employers to find talent—during these challenging times. OneZone is offering their employer members an opportunity to join the Ascend Network, a software platform and team of recruiters that connect students and recent graduates with an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or certificate to Indiana jobs and internships.

Russell added, “Hamilton County remains a great place to work, and as employers prepare for the impending workforce recovery, we want to make sure they have all the tools necessary to meet their employment needs, and that includes having available early-in-career talent. Our member, Ascend Indiana, is helping us to do that.”

To participate, OneZone members can submit information through a short form on the OneZone website: Employers will then be connected to Ascend to begin the process of sharing their open jobs and internships with students and recent graduates.

What Ascend Indiana Is Doing Alongside OneZone to Connect People With Jobs

Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana, shared, “Essentially, two to three months ago it was forecasted that more than a million jobs would go unfilled for an extended period of time in our state. We had a lot of employment opportunities but not necessarily enough people with the knowledge and skills to fulfill those opportunities. Now, add COVID-19 into the mix, and we went from historically low unemployment to historically high unemployment practically overnight. Many of the recently graduated class of seniors are having their job opportunities and internships rescinded as we [the business community] went into a holding pattern and are working our way through a public health crisis.”

Jason Kloth

Kloth continued, “Obviously, hospitality and retail been hit really hard by all of this, but other industries like life sciences and logistics have actually held strong and have even added positions. There are those kinds of roles out there, and there are people out there [seeking them], but there is a wide array of reasons why they aren’t connecting.”

Ascend Indiana built a software program—based on job boards—where it profiles companies in our community. This area of Ascend’s expertise and services is the most relevant to its partnership with OneZone.

“We’ve added upwards of 400 employers, and then we profile not only the company but the teams within the company and its available internships and jobs,” Kloth explained. “And then we work with the business to break down those internships and jobs into three categories and data: character traits, technical skills and work-style requirements. We actually have several thousand roles and positions up on the network. Students from 27 Indiana higher education institutions have joined the network, and they have submitted 13,000 applications to employers for open positions.”

How Can This Partnership Benefit Your Company?

OneZone is hoping to register more than 25 employer members by the end of the year.

Patrick Broccolo, CNA and co-owner at Senior1Care in Carmel, has been working with Ascend Indiana and is excited about the recent partnership with OneZone.

“Our company [Senior1Care] is a home care company, and we take care of seniors who live in their home and need some additional assistance to remain independent,” Broccolo explained. “It’s our family business that we started about 14 years ago in South Bend, and we opened the Carmel branch 12 years ago.”

Broccolo explained how working with Ascend Indiana has helped his business match with quality people who can gain practical and invaluable experience in the health care industry while they’re still in school.

“Now there’s a ton of displaced workers [due to COVID-19] and not enough people out there to care for our future population of elderly,” Broccolo expressed. “Our relationship with Ascend really started because we were looking for other resources to help us find high-quality people who are interested in learning about health care. Ascend was a natural fit for us because they spend a lot of time and resources inside many of our local colleges, and they’ve got a great setup where they really work with and identify students who may be a good fit for our part-time jobs, internships and possible management roles as we continue to grow our business.”

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