Internships are Critical to the Education to Employment Transition

boston1This column by Janet Boston, executive director of Indiana INTERNnet, first appeared in Inside INdiana Business

“The No. 1 priority for Indiana must be a re-evaluation and reinvestment in our people, their knowledge and skills.”

This statement from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s June 2015 Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card, along with the data, reinforces the urgency of the state’s workforce development goals. According to the Report Card, while there have been gains over the past several years, there are specific areas of concern in terms of Indiana’s talent pipeline:

  • Postsecondary attainment continues to lag with national ranks of 45th in associate degrees and 42nd in bachelor degrees
  • Nearly 12% of Indiana’s population has less than a high school diploma
  • Only 3.36% of Hoosier workers are employed in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations, confirming the qualitative and anecdotal insights of business leaders who are suffering through a “skills gap”

State workforce development initiatives focusing on college completion, career pathways and skills development are critical. The Indiana Career Council, led by Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, released its strategic plan in 2014 to guide state workforce development efforts. The goal is that at least 60% of Indiana’s workforce will have post-secondary skills and credentials by 2025.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers presented a plan to achieve the goal at the E2E Convergence in June, hosted by Indiana University in partnership with TechPoint and with support from the Lilly Endowment. To reach 60%, Lubbers told the group of state leaders and stakeholders that the full ecosystem of partners will need to work together. It will take statewide organizations convening the right people to identify problems and solutions. It will take industry sectors defining career pathways and skills demands. It will take regional groups implementing strategies tailored to their specific needs. Finally, it will take local and school partnerships to get students on the track to college and career success.

Objective 4 of the Indiana Career Council’s strategic plan specifically calls for the elevation of the importance of work-and-learn models. State leadership has also set the goal of increasing the number of internships available to Hoosiers by 10,000.

Work-and-learn opportunities serve as significant stepping stones in career paths and allow students to supplement their classroom knowledge with real-world work experience. Indiana INTERNnet is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent. We are helping the state achieve the goal of 10,000 internships by hosting a web site that matches interns with Indiana employers and offering resources and personal assistance to employers who are building or strengthening their internship programs.

Indiana INTERNnet also works with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education on the Employment Aid Readiness Network (EARN) Indiana program. Employers with an approved internship may receive state matching funds by hiring students, eligible to receive state financial aid, for resume-building, experiential, paid opportunities. Internships are part of the solution for increasing Indiana’s ranks in these important workforce strength indicators and developing the talent demanded by local employers.

A timely industry example: by 2018 Indiana’s growing economy will have demand for 123,000 STEM-related jobs. Yet questions linger as to whether the state can produce enough qualified workers to fill these positions. As a result, an urgent need exists to bridge the gap between higher education experiences and employment opportunities for Indiana to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Again, internships are a part of the equation.

“What’s great about an internship in the technology industry specifically is a student can develop their skills immensely over just a 12-week period from theories learned in school to application of those in a real-world job setting,” indicates Brittney Baxter, manager of Global Student Programs with Interactive Intelligence. “We see interns who grow so much from hands-on experience. It’s truly invaluable.”

Career-based experience is valued across all industries. Not only are these experiences a necessary component of each individual’s career pathway, but a more skilled workforce is critical for the success of Indiana.

To register for our free service, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net, or call (317) 264-6862 to speak with our staff about your internship program. We are now accepting nominations for the IMPACT Awards in the categories of Intern of the Year, Employer of the Year and Career Development Professional of the Year. Share your internship success story online.

VIDEO: Time to Move Forward and Improve Indiana’s Infrastructure

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar discusses the importance of improving Indiana’s infrastructure. 2016 looks to be the “year of infrastructure” at the Statehouse, and Brinegar asserts “Indiana can’t wait for Washington to act.”

Small Business Administration Makes Disaster Loans Available in Indiana

In case your company was impacted by the excessive rains in Indiana this summer, there may be some relief available. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued the release below.

Note: Disaster relief is only available for selected counties, which are mentioned:

The SBA announced today that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Indiana as a result of excessive rain and flooding beginning on June 1, 2015.

The disaster declaration includes the following counties: Benton, Gibson, Knox, Lake, Newton, Posey, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo and Warren in Indiana.

“These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Illinois. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than April 12, 2016.

Ontario Systems: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Talent Recruitment

Lehman_JillGreat minds think alike.

Jill Lehman, vice president of administration and chief people officer at Ontario Systems (an Indiana Chamber member since 1992), views its collaboration with Indiana INTERNnet – an internship-matching program linking employers, students, high schools, colleges and universities – as a perfect fit.

Based in Muncie, Ontario Systems is a leading accounts receivable technology and services provider.

“Indiana has great students. It has great talent. We believe in trying to find that talent, keep that talent and grow that talent,” Lehman emphasizes. “Our mission is very similar to the mission of Indiana INTERNnet. It’s definitely something we want to be a part of.”

During a telephone conversation in July, Lehman raved about the 12 students participating in Ontario Systems’ summer internship program. Three were EARN Indiana-eligible. EARN (Employment Aid Readiness Network) is a partnership between Indiana INTERNnet and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education that allows employers to be reimbursed for up to 50% of their interns’ wages from the state.

Lehman’s take on the initiative? “It’s phenomenal.”

Ontario Systems’ summer interns included mainly college juniors, seniors and recent graduates. They gained experience in areas ranging from software engineering, client support, legal, human resources and marketing.

“We’re getting great ideas generated from the students as we look at different ways to approach how we do work and solve problems,” Lehman declares. “We’re really excited that our interns are wanting to continue their careers with us – whether it’s through part-time employment or full-time employment depending on where they’re at (college student vs. graduate). And we’re able to have quality jobs for them right here in Muncie, Indiana.”

Indiana Logistics Summit to Kick Off Sept. 22

2015 LOGISTICS SUMMIT LOGO JPEGThe Indiana Logistics Summit is fast approaching, and will convene in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Sept. 22 (and a VIP Colts tailgate reception will be held at Crane Bay on Sept. 21). Visit www.indianalogistics.com or call (866) 515-0023 to register or receive more information. (Registration is $175 per person, or call Liz Folkerts at (317) 232-9205 for information on group rates.)

There is something for everyone at the 2015 Indiana Logistics Summit as top executives from Google, GE Aviation, Indianapolis Colts, Fair Oaks Farms, NCAA, Harvard Business School, IndyCar and others will be featured speakers at the 13th annual event on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the Indiana Convention Center. The Summit will bring 300 leaders to Indianapolis to hear educational presentations about logistics from a variety of industries and to celebrate the Indianapolis Colts’ home opener on Monday Night Football.

In conjunction with a “Logistics in Sports” segment, the evening reception for Summit attendees will be held on Monday, Sept. 21, at The Crane Bay as part of the Colts VIP Tailgate leading up to the Colts game versus the New York Jets. Tickets to the reception are complimentary with Summit registration, and include a Morton Steakhouse buffet, cocktail bars hosted by Jim Beam, visits from Colts cheerleaders and former players, the live broadcast site for the Colts’ pregame show, an NFL memorabilia auction and much more.

The Indiana Logistics Summit is co-hosted by Purdue University, the Ports of Indiana and Conexus Indiana to promote the logistics industry and showcase the critical role this sector plays in the national economy. Some topics to be featured at this year’s program include:

– The Role of Logistics in Attracting Indiana’s Mega Projects
– A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Logistics in Sports
– Closing the Skills Gap to Improve U.S. Competitiveness
– New Solutions for the National Transportation Infrastructure Crisis
– Emerging Technologies: Unmanned Systems, Smart Drones and What’s Next?

There will also be a special “Logistics U” program for high school students to learn about career and educational opportunities in logistics.

“This is a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in logistics, sports, drones or the future of our economy,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “Logistics is something that Indiana knows very well. Our robust transportation infrastructure and central location create tremendous logistical advantages for businesses that move products by air, rail, truck and water. The Summit celebrates the importance of this industry and provides an important platform for informative discussions among businesses, leaders and transportation professionals. This year’s program will offer a diverse group of topics that will appeal to a broad audience.”

The Summit program opens with the Keynote Breakfast featuring a presentation titled “Grass to Glass Logistics” by Mike McCloskey, the CEO of Select Milk Producers and owner of Fair Oaks Farms, one of the nation’s largest dairies. The Northwest Indiana dairy recently announced a new partnership venture with Coca-Cola that is aimed at revolutionizing milk consumption across the country.

There will also be an inside look at the Indianapolis Colts’ ‘Midnight Move’ from Baltimore, the NCAA’s coordination of 90 national championships per year, and a preview of the ‘100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.’ Emerging technologies will be explored in a futuristic session focused on the development of drone delivery systems, the launch of the state’s first college major in unmanned vehicles and companies with real-world applications for drones in logistics. Top national experts will also share recommendations for how businesses, government and academia can help address two of the biggest challenges facing the logistics industry – aging transportation infrastructure and workforce development in closing the skills gap.

If Image is Everything, U.S. in Trouble

19218071The Reputation Institute does studies on, guess what, reputations. In this case, its all about countries.

In many ways, countries are like companies; They have “brands” to protect, budgets to adhere to, and many “competitors” vying for their export business, international diplomacy status and tourism dollars — and, as in business, a country’s global reputation can be the pivotal touch point around which those other metrics revolve.

According to new research from the Reputation Institute, Canada has moved back into the leading slot for reputation, having passed Switzerland to regain the top spot in this year’s Country RepTrak, the world’s largest annual survey of country reputations, showing regional trends for North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Canada, the United States and Mexico all improved their reputations, according to the survey.

Since the survey began in 2010, Canada has ranked first all but two of those years and never lower than second place. At the top of the list are all of Scandinavia, with Norway in second place, immediately followed by Sweden and Switzerland.

Historically, the reputation of the United States has been poor, even though the country’s image has improved 20% compared to an average reputation. Elsewhere around the world, Latin America is improving its reputation overall, but Brazil is experiencing a decline in reputation. Northern European countries are in the top 10, and Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland have improved their reputations due to improvements in certain economic indicators. Japan has the best reputation in Asia and while Asian countries are improving their reputations, theirs are still weak overall. Russia’s reputation is declining due to the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea’s annexation.

The top 10 countries in the 2015 Country RepTrak are:

Canada
Norway
Sweden
Switzerland
Australia
Finland
New Zealand
Denmark
Netherlands
Belgium

VIDEO: Ikelite Making a Splash in Indy

David Combs, general manager of Ikelite, spoke with BizVoice about the intriguing history of the Indianapolis company and why it’s so successful. Some may find it odd that a company so loved by SCUBA divers would be based in Indiana, but hey, it’s been working since the 1960s!

Read the Indiana Ingenuity feature on this exceptional business in BizVoice.

Fighting Mr. (Brain) Freeze

Ragan recently featured a useful article on how to handle a brain freeze when you’re speaking in public. Whether you’re a CEO, manager or in the cases they presented, a political candidate, handling such an instance with grace could go a long way toward disaster control.

They use the following two video examples of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the right and wrong ways to handle this. Although, in fairness, one wonders how Sen. Rubio would have handled the last part of his speech if he was unable to eventually find the final page.

Sneaker Fans: Step Right Up!

What in the world is a Sneakerhead?

I hadn’t heard of the term until I stumbled upon this NPR story about a new exhibit that traces the history of sneakers. What a cool way to get your kicks!

Shoes of all shapes and sizes are on display at the Brooklyn Museum (future stops include Toledo, Ohio and Louisville):

The show begins with some of the first rubber shoes ever made. They were manufactured in Brazil and exported to America in the 1830s.

In the same case, there’s a crusty, brown, old canvas kick with a familiar shape. It’s a Converse All Star from 1917, the year that shoe was first produced. …

Every step here is shoe history. There’s a bizarre high-heeled sneaker from around 1925 and a TV ad for Keds from 1958.

One of the industry’s most famous designers, Chuck Taylor, hails from Columbus, Indiana. Special-edition Converse All Star Chuck Taylor sneakers featured an exclusive Columbus design last fall.

Share your memories on the fads that paved the way for today’s fashion. What were your favorites?

Pacers Bikeshare Partners with UST Global to Kick Off One Million Calories Campaign

Photo 2Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. (ICT) announced a partnership this week between the Pacers Bikeshare program and UST Global, a leading provider of end-to-end digital solutions and IT services for Global 1000 companies. The One Million Calories Campaign challenges the Indianapolis community to burn one million calories using Pacers Bikeshare bikes during the month of August. To kick off the campaign, UST Global is providing free access to the bikeshare program this weekend. A release has more:

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard officially launched the campaign on July 29 outside of City Market, recognizing the critical role of technology in healthcare.

“I’m thrilled that UST Global has selected Indianapolis as the place to launch the One Million Calories Campaign,” says Mayor Ballard. “Our Pacers Bikeshare program is a healthy way to travel and experience downtown, and it will be exciting to see just how many calories our community can burn by using the bikeshare next month.”

Individuals wanting to take advantage of free access to Pacers Bikeshare, complements of UST Global on August 1-2, can do so by checking out a bike at any station kiosk. A credit card must still be used when checking out a bike and usage fees for trips over 30 minutes will still apply. More information about how to use Pacers Bikeshare is available at www.pacersbikeshare.org.

“The impact of technology on advancing breakthroughs in healthcare is undeniable, whether observed through mobile applications, medical devices, or online services. We’ve worked tirelessly to remain at the forefront of healthcare’s digitization movement, and the past few years have yielded tremendous success for UST Global’s healthcare practice.” explains Nikki Arora, Chief Marketing Officer at UST Global. “We are thrilled to invest in the Indianapolis community, and our partnership with Indianapolis Cultural Trail and its Pacers Bikeshare Program will help us more clearly understand the needs of customers and bring better innovation to market at a faster pace.”

The digital health sector is exploding, as 2014 saw $6.5 billion dollars invested in the industry – a 125% increase from 2013. From activity trackers to app-focused wellness portals, technology is redefining the way consumers take charge of their health and how healthcare companies meet patients’ needs. UST Global is committed to empowering healthcare communities around the country by helping providers improve accessibility to healthcare services and insurance. Cost-efficient, easy-to-use systems make it possible for everyone to monitor their health, stay active and maximize the use of their healthcare services.

“Our community burned over nine million calories riding Pacers Bikeshare bikes last year,” concludes ICT, Inc. Executive Director Karen Haley. “Our partnership with UST Global underscores that bikeshare plays a vital role in making Indy an active and healthy community.”


Pictured are (left to right) Eric Ellsworth, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis,  Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Kären Haley, executive director, Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. and John Seitz, healthcare transformation strategist at UST Global.