(photo courtesy of Indiana University)

Purdue University and Indiana University are teaming up in an effort to boost the state’s talent pipeline by keeping more graduates in Indiana. The schools are partnering with Ascend Indiana with the goal of connecting students with in-state career opportunities more effectively, as well as providing one-on-one career guidance and job search support. Bill Stephan, vice president for government relations and economic engagement at IU, says the effort stems from the presidents of both universities, who are looking for ways to collaborate on retaining talent in Indiana.

Steve Abel, associate provost for engagement at Purdue, tells Inside INdiana Business both schools bring vast student resources to the table.

“We are able to work through Ascend to provide data about our students and then, when companies are working with Ascend, they can make sure that appropriately qualified students are informed of the opportunities before them,” said Abel. “And then, within our respective universities, we have support from our career development offices to help those students present themselves in the most positive way so they can be successful in securing, in some instances, an internship, possibly a summer opportunity, possible a job to sustain them here in the state.”

Ascend Indiana is the talent and workforce initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. The organization has created an online job matching platform known as the Ascend Network, which is used by more than 550 employers.

Stephan says it is crucial to the state’s economic future to keep as many graduates in Indiana as possible.

“What we hear almost daily from Indiana’s employers is really requests for how they might better access our talent and how we can help them as institutions to ensure that they’re going to have a well-skilled and well-qualified workforce,” he said. “So, it’s really in many respects, a response to the primary issue and need from our state’s employers and frankly, also from our elected officials, members of the legislature.”

Abel adds the partnership is about keeping more than just Indiana-native students in the state.

“We also are bringing individuals from other states into our state and once we get them here, we treat them and expect them to be our own, and we want to retain them as our own,” said Abel. “So…for the economic future of the state, we get great talent from both of our universities and it’s really critically important for us to maintain that talent in the state.”

IU and Purdue say the Ascend Network will be available to students through their career services offices at no cost. Stephan says, long-term, he hopes more Indiana employers will take advantage of the effort to further bolster their workforce pipelines.