Dr. Mary Mechelle Polter passed away unexpectedly on March 22, 2023, at the age of 57. Mechelle was born February 24, 1966, in Owensboro, KY to Mary Rose Johnston. She graduated from Greenwood High School in 1984 and earned her doctorate from Walden University in 2016.
Influenced by the loss of her mother at a young age, Mechelle began a lifelong journey of servitude. She found a passion for encouraging, guiding, and mentoring youth. Mechelle found her calling as a Sr. Director at EmployIndy, where she was integral to the creation of the Talent Bound work-based learning continuum and Modern Apprenticeship Program. She loved leading her team to help youth and young adults make impactful decisions about their future in the Indianapolis area.
Mechelle met Brian in 1990 and married him on September 28, 1991, to begin their remarkable journey together. She is survived by her husband Brian of 31 years, her children Briana, Colton, Destiny, and daughter-in-law Maddie. She is preceded in death by her sister, Kathy Perry, brother, Jamie Payne, and Grandmother, Geneva Richardson.
The impact of Dr. Mechelle Polter's work on apprenticeship and work-based learning is felt locally, statewide, and nationally. In memory of Mechelle, EmployIndy, alongside her family, we have created the Dr. Mechelle Polter Memorial Scholarship fund. Interested parties can donate at: https://employindy.org/connect/donate
*Message from EmployIndy
Mechelle has been an integral part of the EmployIndy team since 2019. She believed deeply in the mission of EmployIndy, particularly as it related to empowering youth and young adults to make good decisions about their future. Mechelle was a quiet force at EmployIndy; she was a thoughtful, supportive, and inspirational leader and mentor to many on our team. She was highly respected by all who knew her, and it was clear in every action she made that she loved her work, her team, and her community.
She brought to life the Talent Bound continuum for work-based learning, designed multiple new apprenticeships with employers single-handedly, and led the Talent Bound and Modern Apprenticeship teams to partner with employers and schools to deliver more than 37,000 work-based learning experiences across Indianapolis over the last year. The systems she created have been used across all initiatives at EmployIndy in order to ensure a seamless process for employer partners to connect to participants. Her contributions have left a lasting impact on our community, and we will miss her terribly.