Purdue Launches "Brain Gain" Initiative

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Purdue University wants to make Indiana the country's biggest "brain gain" state with a new initiative designed to bring Purdue grads back to Indiana companies. President Mitch Daniels says the pilot phase of the Purdue Brain Gain Initiative has piqued the interest of some 200 alumni, with a small number currently in the final interview process with employers in the state. "I think a lot of the problem here is there's interest or potential interest among great employees," Daniels told Inside INdiana Business. "There's certainly a need among business, but it's hard to connect the two and that's what we're trying to improve."

The program, Daniels believes, is poised to go statewide. He says Purdue has already had "good talks" with Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, but an effort like this could be taken up elsewhere. "I can't think of a school that wouldn't be a good partner, honestly. We've got such a rich network of public and private schools in this state that it's a great asset if we could figure out how to use it fully," Daniels said.

Daniels discussed the pilot Tuesday during remarks at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner where he received the 2018 Business Leader of the Year Award. Daniels says Indiana is facing a critical need for experienced talent. "A few years ago, Indiana reached the top tier in every ranking of good business climates, but the one category where we lag, as our governor points out at every opportunity, is in having sufficient human capital," he added.

The program is partnering with TMAP, a startup founded by Purdue alumnus Bill Oesterle to connect candidates with business opportunities. Purdue sent a letter to 278 Indiana companies asking them to join the program, with the next step being inviting other universities to participate to allow them to recruit more companies to the initiative. The next step is for Purdue to cast a wider net within the Boilermaker community and with employers throughout Indiana. Daniels says only a small percentage of its alumni living outside the state were contacted in the pilot phase.

"We believe we are, in part, an economic engine for this state, not only turning out directly top young talent, but also giving birth to new businesses and helping attract existing business to Indiana," Daniels said. "So, if we can bring some Boilermakers home to help build the Indiana of tomorrow, that's what we're here for."

The program, Purdue President Mitch Daniels believes, is poised to go statewide.
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