Higher education, economic development, government, nonprofit and business leaders are coming together today for a conference focusing on strengthening the state's work force. The Education to Employment Convergence event at IUPUI aims to share best practices and strategies to improve the percentage of Hoosiers with a college degree and motivate those graduates to live and work in Indiana. Indiana University Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan says it's important to connect education and industry to make sure Indiana is not a net exporter of talent.

Stephan joined IU Associate Director for Economic Development Joe Carley on Inside INdiana Business Television earlier this month to discuss the event. He says universities and companies have a shared interest in the effort, as employers want the people they're hiring to be skilled, and educators want their students to get good jobs.

"If you talk to virtually any employer, certainly here in Indiana, that's what they lead with when they talk about their needs going forward," said Stephan, "and what's going to enable them to remain viable, successful and growing here in our state."

This year's speakers include IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar, South Bend Regional Chamber Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rea, Ontario Systems Vice President of Administration Jill Lehman and WTHR-TV anchor and reporter Naomi Pescovitz.

Carley says forming and growing partnerships is one of the most important tools to combat the brain drain. He says ongoing conversations about alignment are critical to making sure educators and employers are on the same page about where the jobs are going, and what skills future workers will need.

"We see great partnerships around the state between educators and employers to fill work force needs," says Carley, "and a lot of times those can be replicated, and those are often win-win-win for the educator, the employer and the student."