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James Turner is Committed to Community

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James Turner, founder of Urban Education Recruiting Services, remains dedicated to serving his community.

Q: Sports have been a big part of your life. During your years at Broad Ripple High School, you were Indiana All-Star for football, All-State for basketball, and City Athlete of the Year in 1994, then went on to play basketball in college at Texas Christian University. How have you leveraged your experience to help others?

A: I was born and raised in Indianapolis by a single mom and am the youngest of three. Sports opened up opportunities for me and provided a path towards an education. An education should be a right, not a privilege, and I am dedicated to helping others find their path towards an education.

Q: After college, you lived in Dallas, Texas for a while. What brought you back to Indy?

A: In Dallas, I was a Field Director for Promotions for SFM Sony | Universal, working in marketing. I earned my undergrad degree in secondary education and received a call from Dr. White in 2007. He offered me a job to coach basketball and I worked within the administration at Arsenal Tech. For the next seven years, I was a Discipline Dean in IPS and I coached the entire time.

Q: Sounds like Dr. White knew he could tap you for leadership and contributing to the educational ecosystem. Please share how teaching and coaching have been a part of your life.

A: Absolutely. Dr. White was instrumental in starting my career in Discipline, which is how I adopted the term “Discipline with Dignity”. I am heavily involved with Tabernacle which is where I grew up and started an early fundamentals basketball academy for ages six to thirteen. We are now in our 11th year for this program. This feeds into the summer camp, which is in its 9th year and it’s a combo of sports + tech. There is a computer lab in Tab, and it is all housed there. I am the Basketball Director for Tab Recreational. When I had my own kids, I coached them in little league sports, so their friends were given the same daddy treatment. I am a father of four, with three of my children currently playing basketball in college on scholarships.

Q: Wow.

A: Yes, wow. It goes back to creating opportunities. I keep in touch with the families that I have coached, because when they outgrow Tab, they feed into the Center for Leadership Development (CLD), 100 Black Men, or enter other programs to continue their growth, which enables scholarship opportunities.

Q: What are you doing with Urban Education Recruiting Services?

A: Awareness of opportunities can change lives and getting an education is very important, both for personal growth as well as a path towards generational wealth. We work with Martin University and Eleven Fifty Academy. With Scott Jones creating a no up-front cost, 0% (zero!) interest educational funding tool, the Career Accelerator Fund, for students of any age to accelerate part-time or full-time into a career in tech. Indiana has invested $75 million into a similar fund that Jones spearheaded with legislators, which will be self-generating going forward. Payback doesn’t happen unless someone achieves a high-paying job and the cost of training is a super low amount. This is one tool to help create opportunities towards wealth generation via education, and people need to know about this. It’s our job — I work with my wife, Ieesha —  to share the news of what is possible with people so they can transform their lives.

Q: That’s quite the mission.

A: We are facilitating success stories from our urban community. Technology is not the wave of the future, it is now and there are opportunities available now funding for an education. Folks need to take advantage of these opportunities.

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