For New Grads, Global Trade Means Local Opportunities

Posted: Updated:

We recently celebrated another commencement at IUPUI, recognizing the achievements of the Class of 2016 as they eagerly embrace a new professional and personal chapter in their lives.

We’re proud that the majority of our graduates have an array of career options but choose to stay in Indianapolis.  We’re also enthusiastic about a group that is less likely to settle in Central Indiana (for now): The hundreds of international students who recently earned their degrees.

These grads are part of a record number of students who traveled to IUPUI and Indianapolis from around the world to learn, live and work – nearly 2,000 foreign-born scholars.  Whether they return to their homelands (hopefully as converted Indy ambassadors), or choose to find a new home here, this is a positive trend.

IUPUI’s emergence as an international campus is not only good for the university, but also contributes to a more competitive region.  Indy is a global economy; continued success in foreign markets is essential to long-term growth.

A few statistics for context: The Indianapolis metro ranks in the top 25 (out of the 100 largest U.S. regions) for exports and foreign direct investment (overseas firms opening a new operation in Indianapolis or joining with a company here through purchase or partnership).   More than 100,000 local jobs (with higher-than-average wages) are supported by exports or foreign-owned employers.

Education is about preparing for the future, so it’s not my inclination to focus on the 100,000 jobs that already exist because of global trade and investment, but rather how we create the next 100,000 opportunities that will challenge future classes of IUPUI graduates to tackle the world from Indianapolis.

A global economy creates new markets for high-value, cutting-edge goods and new opportunities for innovation and investment.  Most U.S. exports are produced by ‘advanced industries’ – technology-intensive, dependent on research and development breakthroughs or sophisticated engineering.  Foreign enterprises looking to do business here are also three times more likely (versus the overall economy) to be within these advanced industries.  They are eager to recruit educated, highly skilled workers.

Workforce development and educational attainment are recurring challenges for Indy’s economy that also impact our ambitions for global growth.  To export into an increasingly competitive world, homegrown companies need to be more innovative and productive – it starts with human capital.

For foreign-owned businesses, Indianapolis is already a great location for manufacturing and logistics.  But we have to rely on brainpower to become a global center for advanced industry innovation.  Our aspiration should be making Indy the best place to discover and design products, as well as make and move them.

To expand, diversify and increase the value of our metro exports and foreign investment, the Indy Chamber, IUPUI and other partners from industry, academia and the public sector are part of the Global Cities Exchange initiative, a joint project of The Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase that lends expertise and technical support to regional planning efforts to develop progressive strategies for international economic growth.

We started the process as the fortunate home to a number of large, global corporations (IUPUI’s commencement speaker was John Lechleiter of Eli Lilly & Company, which operates in 120 countries).  But we also have unrealized potential: Brookings has helped identify a thousand or more local mid-market firms that are potentially successful exporters.

Similarly, we’ve learned that while our region outperforms most of our peers in employment within foreign-owned enterprises, half of our job-creating foreign investment happened more than 25 years ago – we must fully capitalize on the latest trends in global business development.

The Indy Chamber will share more of these findings at the annual World Trade Day event on May 24th.   But it’s clear that talent and innovation are common denominators in our formula for success.

As Indiana’s premiere urban research institution, IUPUI is joining with industry partners to support the 16 Tech innovation district and other collaborations that can help position Indianapolis as a crossroads for global innovation.  Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on international partnerships that attract students from across the world to study alongside students from across Central Indiana and beyond.  We remain committed to supporting global trade and investment, as we fulfill the promise of providing a more prosperous community where our graduates can live and work.

Gil Latz is associate vice chancellor for international affairs at IUPUI.

  • Perspectives

    • How Managers Can Keep Millennials Happy

      There are more than 56 million Millennials either actively participating in the workforce, or searching for a job. With a number like this, it’s no surprise that Millennials have taken the workplace by storm. But what is surprising is how different this generation is from their predecessors. They rely heavily on technology and prefer to communicate via text or email rather than a traditional phone call. Managing millennial employees can be a challenge — how can executives...

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • $25M Behavioral Hospital Coming to Central Indiana

      Danville-based Hendricks Regional Health is partnering with US HealthVest to develop a stand-alone behavioral center on the Hendricks campus in Plainfield. Known as the Indianapolis Behavioral Hospital, the facility will provide specialized inpatient and outpatient mental health care to patients of all ages.

    • 'Heartbreaking' End For Nashville House

      The 91-year-old Nashville House restaurant is closing. The Brown County family dining staple will serve its last meal at the end of the month. In a post on Facebook, Gina Sarah Rogers, daughter of late-owners Andy and Fran Rogers, said it is "the end of an era and very heartbreaking." The restaurant is known for its country-style fried chicken and ham meals. Business on the property dates back to the late-1860s when an inn opened. It was acquired in...

    • How Managers Can Keep Millennials Happy

      There are more than 56 million Millennials either actively participating in the workforce, or searching for a job. With a number like this, it’s no surprise that Millennials have taken the workplace by storm. But what is surprising is how different this generation is from their predecessors. They rely heavily on technology and prefer to communicate via text or email rather than a traditional phone call. Managing millennial employees can be a challenge — how can executives...

    • Christel DeHaan to Retire as Christel House CEO

      One of the biggest names in philanthropy in Indiana is announcing her retirement. Christel House International Chief Executive Officer Christel DeHaan will remain board chair, but leave as CEO of the nonprofit she founded 20 years ago. The organization has named former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson to be her successor. CHI's mission is to lift children out of poverty, and it has established learning centers at home in Indianapolis and abroad in Mexico, India, South Africa and...

    • Great American Songbook Foundation to Sell Asherwood

      The Carmel estate known as Asherwood is in the process of being sold by the Great American Songbook Foundation. The 107 acre estate was donated to the Foundation in January by Bren Simon in support of the their music education and historic preservation programs.  The Asherwood estate features a fully-furnished 50,000-square-foot main house, 8,000-square-foot clubhouse, a 6,000-square-foot guest house, and two golf courses. An auction of antique furniture, artwork and other ...