FBD to Host M&A Event

FBDLogo_DarkBlue_RGBIf mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are your game, Faegre Baker Daniels has an event you won’t want to miss.

The firm will conduct its third annual Indianapolis M&A conference on June 11 at the JW Marriott. The half-day event, with a post-reception, has featured powerful speaker lineups in its first two years.

Specific agenda topics will be released in April. Additional details are available.

 

Adding Up the School Choice Numbers

ed choiceThe Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a national leader in its industry. It has published a Field Guide for 2015, providing an overview of the current status and expected developments.

Among the highlights:

  • 51 school choice programs in 24 states and Washington, D.C.
  • 23 voucher programs in 13 states and D.C.
  • 18 tax credit scholarship programs in 14 states
  • 8 individual tax credit/deduction programs in 7 states
  • 2 education savings account programs

Check out a state-by-state map on pages 4-5.

Friedman also breaks down gubernatorial support for school choice:

  • Governors a Go: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin
  • Governors a No: Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Virginia, Wahington

Show Them the Money

Recently, we asked your reaction to President Obama’s proposal for “free” community college. The results:

  • 43%: Who will pay the $60 billion price tag?
  • 20%: Sign me up
  • 14%: Won’t help if more students don’t graduate
  • 12%: Not for me but a step in the right direction

Our current poll asks a question that could not have been offered a year ago when no Indiana schools were represented in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Vote (top right) on your home state favorite for March Madness.

Free Webinar Can Help Avoid Mistakes in Hiring Veterans

sNational Guard and veteran unemployment continues to outstrip national unemployment numbers, while employers post job openings at a 14-year high, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

So what’s the missing connection? Small and mid-size employers often hit snags when seeking to hire trained and experienced veterans and National Guard members. Challenges include bureaucratic issues, translating military experience into civilian job descriptions and connecting with qualified military job candidates through a myriad of available programs and job boards.

The Center for America, coordinating the non-profit American Jobs for America’s Heroes military hiring campaign, announces a free webinar replay,How to Achieve Greater Success in Hiring National Guard and Other Veterans,” to give employers practical advice on hurdles they may encounter in the military hiring effort and specific action steps that will help employers find qualified job applicants. There is no cost and no registration to watch the program.

The program features three experts who have extensive experience in helping veterans and employers: Brig. Gen. (ret.) Marianne Watson, the former Director of Manpower and Personnel (J1) for the National Guard Bureau; Stacy Bayton, a retired U.S. Marine and Chief Operating Officer for Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), a 2014 Call of Duty Endowment award-winner for excellence in military hiring; and Erin Voirol, the CASY-MSCCN Executive Director and military spouse. CASY and MSCCN placed more than 5,000 Guard members and veterans in jobs in 2014.

The “live” version of this webinar was hosted by the Maryland State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Questions? Contact: Steve Nowlan, Center for America, 201-513-0379 or SNowlan@CenterForAmerica.org.

Promise, Partnerships and Indiana’s Future

tThe following column, written by Indiana Chamber Vice President Tom Schuman, was written for Inside INdiana Business:

In the not exactly breaking news category, there is dysfunction at the top in leadership of Indiana’s K-12 education efforts with plenty of blame to go around. But the good news is this column has nothing to do with that.

Instead, it tells about the focus being placed where it needs to be – on today’s students who will be the future workforce and aspiring community leaders. We detail some of these stories in the March-April issue of BizVoice magazine, but share a few highlights with you here.

Like in Wabash, which initiated the Wabash County Promise to provide K-3 students with 529 college savings accounts to begin to change the culture and mindset about higher education. Students with accounts are seven times more likely to continue their education beyond high school, but this program is so much more than that.

Families, teachers, the business community, private sector funding partners and others are engaged and energized. The “promise” has expanded to LaGrange, Noble and Whitely counties and the application period is open through March 9 for additional pilots for the 2015-2016 school year. The ultimate goal: a successful Promise Indiana program.

Or go to Batesville in the southeastern portion of the state. The K-12 system, Ivy Tech Community College and local businesses have partnered on a program that has students dividing their time between all three locations each week. The result is young people with on-the-job work experience and substantial credits toward an associate degree – before they receive their high school diploma.

(Batesville has a variety of other initiatives that allow students to gain real-world experiences as a result of educators acknowledging that a great deal of learning takes place “outside our walls.”)

The school-business connection is Batesville is beginning to be replicated in other locations around the state. The Indiana Works Councils, specifically created to help these conversations and alignments occur, seem to be doing just that.

It does cause one to wonder, however: Why did this take so long? Business haves complained about not having access to the skilled workforce they need; educators, as a nature of their profession, are dedicated to helping ensure future success for their students.

Rick Sherck, executive director of the Noble County Economic Development Corporation, offered an explanation in BizVoice.

“For the most part, industry and education knew they needed each other. But they didn’t know how to go about forming that relationship. Sometimes it’s been an adversarial relationship. You hire someone out of high school and you complain about the educational system because they didn’t prepare them. It’s not industry’s fault and it’s not education’s fault. We just need to work together and find solutions and positive ways to engage youth.”

Well said.

Educators, if you’re not going into your local businesses to see how the skill sets have changed with today’s jobs, do so. The doors will be open. If the reasoning from school leaders is that too many other requirements prevent such activities, challenge the status quo and make time.

Business leaders, don’t complain about a lack of workforce skills unless you’re ready to be part of the solution. In fact, you should be driving the solution as a leading partner. Invest your time in the young people in your community and you will realize the benefits for years to come.

Remember, it’s all about the students. Keep that top of mind and great things will happen.

Making a College ‘Promise’; Community Applications Available

bThe March-April issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice magazine will include a feature on the Wabash County Promise and the move to expand that to Promise Indiana.

What is the Promise? It’s creating college savings accounts for young people as early as kindergarten, but it’s also so much more — changing the culture and mindset about the importance of education to young people, families and communities.

Wabash County began its work in 2013. Three more counties (LaGrange, Noble and Whitley) came on board in 2014. Now, applications are open through March 9 for additional pilot counties for the upcoming school year.

Local leadership and support are the keys to success. Data and resources are provided to assist selected counties in a program that is gaining national attention and praise.

Remembers, to see the full story in BizVoice (online and in the mail on February 27).

Population Time Machine: From 1920 to 2010

AThe always interesting Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. As a result, it is releasing information about how the state has changed over that time frame.

A recent release looks at population shifts from 1920 to 2010. The map on the IBRC site provides the visual as 17 counties (many on the western edge of the state) declined in population in that 90-year span; 15 counties experienced at least 200% growth. Here are the lists:

  • Population decline: Benton, Warren, Fountain, Vermillion, Parke, Clay, Sullivan, Greene, Knox, Martin, Pike, Crawford, Tipton, Blackford, Jay, Randolph and Rush
  • At least 200% growth: Lake, Porter, Elkhart, Allen, Tippecanoe, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Monroe, Bartholomew, Scott, Clark and Warrick

Marion, Lake, Allen and St. Joseph counties combined for 25% of the state’s population in 1920. That percentage increased to 36% in the 1960s and 1970s before declining to 31% in 2010.

Your Chance to Weigh in on Indiana’s Future

RMaking Indiana as successful as it can be is the goal of the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan. The Indiana University Public Policy Institute has an initiative working toward the same outcome in Thriving Communities, Thriving State.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a “commissioner” on one of the three working groups. Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis and former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard are the co-chairs.

Upcoming public input sessions will take place across the state. The goal: encourage discussions among government, nonprofit and private sector leaders about issues that are or will be critical to Indiana’s future — to provide policy options for action.

The sessions (the first one took place in Gary on February 5) are all from 2:00-4:00 p.m.:

  • February 10: Evansville, University of Southern Indiana
  • February 17: Indianapolis, Urban League
  • February 26: Columbus, Irwin Conference Center
  • March 3: Fort Wayne, Indiana University-Purdue University

Additional information is available from Debbie Wyeth at dwyeth@iupui.edu.

People are Still Reading Magazines

10915174_884707758241099_6207917221940347920_nWhile the magazine world has been a volatile one in recent years, we’re proud to celebrate the current 100th issue of BizVoice. It’s focused on the simple question: What will it take for all of Indiana to achieve economically at the highest levels?

Check out BizVoice online. Let us know if you want a print version. And stay tuned for future issues as we continue to report on Indiana Vision 2025 (Outstanding Talent is the focus in March-April) as well as telling business stories from throughout the state.

As far as that volatility, check out these numbers compiled by USA Today:

  • 2014 :99 closures; 190 launches
  • 2013: 56 and 185
  • 2012: 81 and 226
  • 2011: 239 and 152
  • 2010: 176 and 214
  • Five-year totals:  564 closures and 1,054 launches

Why so many launches? Maybe because magazines remain a prime source for business advertising.

To determine the value of various forms of business-to-business advertising, the Association of Business Information and Media Companies conducted a recent survey. A key result: 69% prefer print magazines to learn about new products, equipment, services and suppliers.

Jim Wagner (jwagner@indianachamber.com) can help you grow your business through BizVoice. Contact Jim to learn more.

Grab Attention Quickly or Else

How much time do you have to get the attention of readers — particularly in today’s digital world? The simple answer: Not much.

Thanks to Wylie Communications (Ann Wylie is a top trainer in addition to running her own company) for the following:

In the mid-20th century, communication theorist Clay Schoenfeld suggested a 30-3-30 rule for reader attention. As in:

  • 30 minutes: These folks re readers, and don’t we wish there were more of them
  • 3 minutes: They’re not reading the text. Instead, they’re flipping, skimming and scanning for key ideas
  • 30 seconds: These folks are lookers. They’ll learn whatever they can through an image and a bold headline

Today’s reality, according to Microsoft Research, is that web visitors:

  • Decide whether to stay on a page within 10 seconds
  • Are likely to stay longer if they make it over the 30-second hump
  • At that point, may stay as long as two minutes or more

Ann’s advice: The good news is you may be able to move these folks up the ladder of attention. If the 10-second view is interesting enough, you might turn a looker into a skimmer. if the display copy reveals real value, you might turn a skimmer into a reader.

But event if you don’t move visitors up the attention ladder, you need to reach each group where they are. You need to write for all your readers.