By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance
Indiana is known for its robust college and university system. However, the local workforce is at risk of losing this home-grown talent to “brain-drain,” or the movement of educated and talented workers to career opportunities outside of the state. Employers and schools have made talent retention a major priority to keep recent graduates living, working, and contributing to economic growth in Indiana.
“Aspire continues to engage with higher education partners to connect their students with our businesses, to provide learning opportunities for their students, and a future workforce for our businesses,” said Amanda Rubadue, vice president of Economic Development at Aspire.
In his letter to the editor, Suresh Garimella, executive vice president of Purdue University, addresses the challenge of Indiana losing a significant percentage of its recent graduates to out-of-state job opportunities.
“The outmigration of young, educated talent to other places in the state or to other parts of the United States, remains a significant issue in many counties in Indiana,” wrote Garimella. “More job openings, better career opportunities, and greater exposure to existing opportunities in Indiana would not only keep talent here but also create an inflow from out of state.”
In the heart of Johnson County, Franklin College has been able to buck the trend of educated workers exiting the state.
“I suspect there are Indiana grads who cannot find the career opportunities they are seeking in the state, but that has not been true for the majority of Franklin College graduates,” said Kerry Prather, president of Franklin College. “Of last year’s graduating seniors, 96% secured employment here in the Hoosier state.”
When addressing the role of colleges and universities, Prather emphasized their contribution to Indiana’s workforce, particularly in meeting the growing demand from high-tech industries.
“Colleges like Franklin whose graduates largely remain in Indiana are a particularly powerful driving force to help attract high-tech industries to the state by providing well-educated and skilled talent to help build and ultimate lead successful Hoosier companies,” he said.
To retain Indiana grads, Prather advised employers to create and market positions that offer attractive prospects for career development. Positions with opportunities for progression into roles with increasing levels of responsibility and leadership are crucial in keeping graduates.
The college collaborates with both Johnson County and Indiana employers and organizations to create the talent pipeline from education to occupation.
“Our recent graduates are indeed helping fuel the state’s need for college-educated workforce,” said Prather, “we will continue to work with local and state-wide industry leaders to connect our talented alumni with the needs of those companies.”
Employers wanting to tackle the issue of brain-drain and keep talented employees in Indiana should consider resources such as Work and Learn Indiana. Work and Learn Indiana is a free platform for connecting Indiana employers, learners and educational institutions to facilitate work-based learning experiences and boost talent retention.