A growing number of states and communities is developing incentive packages to attract remote workers, and Indiana is no exception. But a unique aspect of that Hoosier effort is to draw recent college graduates to stay in Indiana or move here by creating a sense of community among digital employees. Serial entrepreneur Bill Oesterle, co-founder of Indianapolis-based MakeMyMove, is one of the driving forces behind The Indiana Remote First Fellowship.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, MakeMyMove Chief Executive Officer Mike Rutz said the program will give young remote workers networking and career development they would normally get from in-person positions.
“We believe we can retain workers from Indiana colleges and universities who start their career in a remote job by giving them an opportunity to be part of something that’s different, that nowhere else in the country is offering, which is a fellowship for new early career remote workers,” said Rutz.
Fellowship offerings will be available to new graduates and those with fewer than two years on-the-job in remote positions.
MMM says the new fellowship is loosely based on the Orr Fellowship that Oesterle launched in 2001 to attract and retain top college graduates by partnering with Hoosier entrepreneurs. The organization says the new program will help ensure young new remote workers find their way in their new communities.
“They can literally go anywhere they want to go to start their careers, but they’ll be doing that in isolation and won’t have access to the important after-hours camaraderie or organized networking opportunities young professionals traditionally take for granted,” said Oesterle. “Those activities aren’t just fun and games; they’re important building blocks of career development.”
Rutz says because remote workers can work from anywhere, they are in high demand. He says Indiana can get a leg-up in that competition with the fellowship, which gives young professionals an essential foundation.
“I know early on in my career, building a network, finding mentors, people who could mentor me, trying to find career development opportunities, even in an office setting, that was challenging. You really had to be deliberate and thoughtful about it. With remote workers, it’s going to be even more challenging because they are remote,” said Rutz.
MakeMyMove, founded in December 2020, uses its platform to help local communities around the state and across the country to offer incentives for remote workers to relocate. But this new initiative is specifically geared to help bolster Indiana’s workforce.
A survey of 2021 college graduates found that among those who found jobs, 37% took a job that was full-time remote and 35% have a job that is remote flexible.
“That number is staggering. Even if it’s half of that, even if it’s half, it is still an incredible amount of people who are entering the workforce as remote workers. We see a couple of opportunities here,” Rutz added.
Click here to learn more about the new fellowship program.