National Emergency Declared for Opioid Crisis; Donnelly and Walorski Applaud President’s Action

Building upon the recommendations in the interim report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, President Trump recently instructed his administration “to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.”

Both Sen. Joe Donnelly and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued statements supporting the decision:

“I am pleased that President Trump plans to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. We know that it will take all of us working together to effectively turn the tide against this public health crisis that has harmed so many families in Indiana and across the country,” Donnelly said. “I hope this declaration will lead to necessary, additional resources for states and local communities to ensure those battling substance use disorders can access treatment.”

Walorski stated: “Opioid abuse is having a devastating impact on our communities, and President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency treats this epidemic with the urgency it requires. I will continue working with my colleagues and the administration to make sure first responders, law enforcement, medical professionals, treatment providers and families in our communities have the tools and resources needed to solve this crisis.”

Congress last year passed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), bipartisan legislation to address the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Congresswoman Walorski served on the conference committee that negotiated the final bill, which included two provisions she authored. One requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs, and the other allows the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain. Donnelly also helped enact CARA, which included several of his provisions. Additionally, Donnelly helped pass the 21st Century Cures Act into law, which includes a $10.9 million federal grant that will support prevention, treatment and recovery services in Indiana.

More recently, in late July, Donnelly introduced a bipartisan package of legislation “aimed at providing the facilities and access to telemedicine needed “to prevent and treat substance use disorder in rural communities.”

Georgetown Drive-In Gets a Four-Star Visit from Traveling Musicians

Aspiring singing duo Lacefield & James has embarked on an enjoyable trip around Indiana, visiting historic Hoosier businesses.

Their latest “Destinations” visit took them southbound to the historic Georgetown Drive-In in Floyd County. See their interview with the owner, who explains why keeping it family-friendly is important and how Batman’s heroics aren’t just limited to fighting crime. They cap it off with a cover of an Amos Lee gem. Enjoy!

Tech Talk: Federal Tech Team Still in Place

The following is excerpted from NextGov:

An Obama-era technology troubleshooting team has continued under President Donald Trump, maintaining projects some experts suspected would be shuttered in the new administration.

The U.S. Digital Service, a task force of professionals recruited from the private sector, was established to tackle some of the federal government’s highest profile and highest risk technology challenges. Today, it has satellite operations in seven federal agencies, including Defense, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services.

The team reports to the Office of Management and Budget and is now part of the American Technology Council, a group of business leaders that President Trump taps for advice on federal problems. The Digital Service (USDS) also works with the White House Office of American Innovation, which is led by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and is aiming to modernize government technology.

Among the recent USDS priorities, according to its report to Congress:

  • A variety of projects for Veterans Affairs – building and deploying a system to process claims for disability compensation; piloting a tool to allow lawyers and judges to review evidence from those claims; and launching Vets.gov, an online portal consolidating thousands of federal benefit sites for veterans.
  • Collaborating with U.S. Citizenship and Innovation Services to digitize the immigration paperwork processing system.
  • Shoring up the federal purchasing process, including an education program to train contracting officers on buying digital IT services.

The USDS web site notes that in support of its goals, “We recruit top technologists for term-limited tours of duty with the federal government. We hope to encourage a tradition of public service in the technology industry that will support the ongoing improvement of government digital services.”

Bottom line: There’s no doubt that there are plenty of opportunities for improvement when it comes to government and technology. Let’s hope USDS can play a positive role in that mission.

Legislation Favorable to Drug, Medical Device Manufacturers Passes Senate, Heads to President

Legislation which passed the Senate Thursday ensures that drug and medical devices can move to the market quicker. Manufacturers of these products would pay higher user fees and the revenue raised would help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review the items in a more expedited process. The law governing this process was set to expire by September 30, so it was imperative that the Senate act before members left for their August recess.

The legislation passed the Senate 94-1 with both Indiana senators supporting the legislation. The bill was not amended in the Senate and so therefore it now heads to the President for final signature.

The Indiana Chamber advocated for the passage of this bill during the Hoosiers Work for Health summit in July.

The legislation aligns with the Chamber’s legislative policy regarding the FDA: “The FDA has an important responsibility to make sure consumers get expeditious access to safe and effective products. Thus, the Indiana Chamber supports a well-resourced FDA, especially in the area of drugs and medical devices, through appropriated funds and user fees (tied to specific and measurable performance requirements for the FDA).”

IODD Now Accepting Applications for Defense Industry Adjustment Grant Program

The Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD) is now accepting applications for the Indiana Defense Industry Adjustment grant program. An IODD release has more:

This grant program, funded by the U.S.Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), assists small and mid-sized companies reduce their dependency on DOD procurement activity by helping them to diversify into new markets. By diversifying their revenue streams, potential cuts or changes in federal defense spending will have less detrimental impact on Indiana-based contractors. The grant helps companies withstand reductions, allowing them to increase economic activity and create jobs in the State of Indiana.

“This is a great opportunity for defense firms in Indiana to diversify their revenue streams and strengthen their business as a whole,” said Brandi Hughes, IODD Director of Operations .

Companies are eligible for up to $50,000 of consulting services in the following four areas: strategic planning, strategic communications, lean product development, and quality certifications. There are no cost requirements for participating companies other than time. Companies must meet the following four requirements to apply:(1) have been in operation in Indiana for a minimum of one year prior to application; (2) have at least one full-time employee; (3) be a defense contractor or subcontractor to a defense contractor; and (4) have experienced a loss of revenue due to reduced DoD expenditures.

IODD has engaged kglobal, a strategic communications firm with extensive OEA grant experience in three other states, to spearhead consulting and diversification efforts under the grant program. kglobal is working in collaboration with several other service providers, four of which are Indiana-based companies; Simon Everett, Indiana Strategic Research Group, Maple Hill Engineering, Mary Romeo and Associates, and QAI.

To inquire about the program, contact Randy DeCleene, kglobal Partner, at randy.decleene@kglobal.com or 202-295-7931.

IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI Seeks Companies to Partner with Student Teams

I-Core students present their semester-long project to Kelley professors and company representatives.

The following is a release from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis:

When digital recording provider Word Systems, Inc. sought to find new ways to use a certain type of software, they enlisted undergraduate students from the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.

“We wanted to explore other applications for our iRecord software, which is currently used by law enforcement agencies when they conduct interviews during investigations,” explained Christy Walchle, vice president at Word Systems, which distributes and markets the iRecord software. “We’ve never explored other applications for the product before, and we realized these student teams could give us insight we may not have considered.”

Junior-level students enrolled in Kelley’s Integrative Core (I-Core) Program helped the company identify innovative uses for its product and how it could expand to different markets.

“The students brought in a lot of great ideas that we’d never thought of before,” said Walchle. “This experience allowed us to think outside the box. You come to a point in business when you think you know everything about a certain product or application. When the Kelley students and professors ask you questions you may not have asked yourself, you realize what you don’t know. It puts us back in the classroom, as well.”

It was a similar experience for IMMI, a Westfield-based company that designs, tests and manufactures advanced safety systems like seatbelts for school buses.

“As a global company based here in central Indiana, IMMI is thrilled to partner with the Kelley School at IUPUI to grow and develop the region’s next generation of business leaders,” said Julie Cooley, director of corporate marketing and communications at IMMI.

IMMI worked with student teams during the fall 2016 semester, and company representatives have already signed up to participate in I-Core again this fall.

“When we give the students real-world scenarios to work through, not only do we help them, but they also help us,” said Cooley. “I-Core is a tremendous program because it’s mutually beneficial. The Kelley students at IUPUI are extremely engaged and are delightful to work alongside.”

Guiding future business leaders: Sign up today

The Kelley School of Business at IUPUI is again looking for central Indiana businesses to partner with undergraduate student teams for its renowned I-Core Program.

I-Core is a distinguishing component of the Kelley bachelor’s degree program. Junior-level students take a set of four integrated classes—marketing, finance, supply chain management and team dynamics and leadership—during a single semester.

Kelley students say I-Core is one of the most meaningful experiences of their Kelley careers—a rite of passage toward understanding the business world and the value of teamwork.

Company representatives say the program provides insights into future opportunities, and it allows them to think about products and services in ways they may not have before.

Students may consider new goods or services, providing a feasibility study of the new product and market. They will determine if return on investment justifies risk and capital investment.

“I recommend this to any company looking to expand its current market or explore new ways of growing business,” added Walchle. “It was rewarding to give back to these business students and guide them through this process.”

“I was impressed with the level of engagement I had with students,” said Mike Patterson, vice president of strategy at Rook Security. “Throughout the semester, they communicated with me regularly as they considered new ways to market two of our newest products.”

“Students give you a new and modern perspective,” explained Daniel Reyzman, BS’10, MBA’15, senior manager, tax product at First Advantage Tax Consulting Services, LLC. “Participating in this program allowed us to build rapport with future business leaders. I believe if you can contribute to students’ growth and learning, you’re contributing to our future as a business—and the future of our economy here in central Indiana, as well.”

How to get involved

Please request and complete an application if you’d like your business to be involved.

Any for-profit organization can apply. The ideal company for I-Core is an S Corporation, C Corporation or LLC that has been operating for three to five years and has shown an operating profit for at least one year.

Several teams of undergraduate students (directed by a Kelley professor) will meet with company representatives to establish projects that work to benefit the company. Students conduct research, analyze findings and provide a recommendation at the end of the semester. This provides companies with a diversity of ideas and perspectives.

Company representatives are asked to participate in an on-campus meeting to talk about the company’s current business and provide background information to help student analysis.

If you would like more information on this program, or to request an application, contact Teresa Bennett at tkbennet@iupui.edu or at (317) 278-9173.

College Pays Off Despite Recession

Those who graduated from college in 2008 often say it wasn’t the best time to be entering the working world. As graduates were searching for those first jobs, the economy was shedding them and the world was plunging into recession. If those prospects weren’t dire enough, many of those graduates were also carrying debt from student loans.

Those millennials, however unlucky, fared better than their non-college-educated counterparts, though.

A new longitudinal study from the National Center for Education Statistics – the primary collector of student data on the federal level – found these results by taking a sample of students who were high school sophomores in the 2001-02 academic year and tracking them through 2012. The nationally representative sample was measured for a variety of factors – co-habiting, marriage, unemployment, underemployment, student debt carried – but the economic breakdown in those categories between those who attained a postsecondary degree and those who didn’t is especially telling.

Even though the timing of graduating might not have been ideal, attaining a four-year degree was still a good economic move for these millennials, on average, according to the report, which attempted to control for outside factors in its economic modeling. Put simply, even in the face of a recession, going to college still paid off.

“Individuals with less education had higher unemployment rates, while those with more education had higher employment rates and were more likely to be working full-time,” the report stated.

By 2012, 78% of those who had earned a bachelor’s degree were working more than 35 hours a week. Eleven percent were working fewer than 35 hours, 5% were unemployed and 6% were out of the labor force.

Of the members of the cohort who only had high school degrees, 64% were employed 35 hours or more a week, with 12% working fewer than 35 hours – similar to the number of those with a bachelor’s degree – and 14% and 10% were unemployed and out of the labor force, respectively.

In addition to employment, earning power was also differentiated along educational lines. Those surveyed who had a bachelor’s degree earned, on average, $17 an hour. Those surveyed with a high school diploma earned, on average, $13.

The study notes that it’s still early to be drawing overly expansive conclusions from its data.

“It is important to note that this section only addresses cohort members’ early career and labor market outcomes,” it reads. “At age 25-26, many individuals are just starting their careers; some are still enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies; and others will return to school for additional training later in their careers.”

Still, as the study notes, early labor data is often correlated with later outcomes.

Number of Independent Workers Continues to Climb

The independent workforce continues to grow and mature, even as the economy continues to rebound and the unemployment rate declines, according to MBO Partners, the nation’s largest provider of business services and tools to the self-employed and companies that engage them. The company released its 2017 State of Independence in America report, the country’s longest-running end-to-end survey of the American independent workforce.

According to the new report, the total number of self-employed Americans aged 21 and above rose to 40.9 million in 2017, up 2.8% from 2016. Independents, who now represent about 31% of the U.S. civilian labor force, are distributed across every demographic, age, gender, skill and income group.

Over 40% of the U.S. adult workforce reports either currently working or having worked as an independent at one time during their careers. Over the next five years, MBO Partners projects that fully half of the U.S. adult workforce will have experienced what independent work can offer.

Independents work in all segments of the U.S. workforce and are of vital impact to our economy, generating roughly $1.2 trillion of revenue for the U.S. economy, equal to about 6% of U.S. GDP.

Three key trends emerged from this year’s study:

  • The number of high earning independents rose for the sixth year in a row. Ongoing economic expansion enables those whose skills are in high demand to get more work and to command a premium for their services. Now, 3.2 million full-time independents make more than $100,000 annually, up 4.9% from 2016 and an annualized increase of more than 3% each year since 2011.

  • More Americans are seeking to supplement their income with part-time independent work or “side gigging.”Though the economy is getting stronger, the typical American worker has seen very little – if any – wage gains. As a result, many Americans who are struggling to keep up with inflation and higher costs are supplementing their income with part-time independent work or side gigging. Fueled in part by the growth of the increasing number of online platforms, the number of people working as occasional independents (those working irregularly or sporadically as independents but at least once per month) soared 23% to 12.9 million, up from 10.5 million in 2016.

  • A strong job market has created a “barbell effect” on both sides of the independent work spectrum. Work opportunities are growing on both sides of the spectrum – both unskilled and skilled – creating a barbell effect. At the low end of the market, there is growing demand for online platform workers, such as Uber drivers or TaskRabbiters, who usually go independent to supplement income, learn new skills or even to socialize in retirement. On the other end of the spectrum, we see a strong rise in entrepreneurial independent professionals earning significant incomes by offering unique services in areas such as technology and marketing.

Tech Talk: Don’t Overlook the Importance of Job Titles

Matt MacBeth (left) and Don Inmon are ready to take tech-enabled Edwin the Duck to new territories with their ambitious vision for the Edwin the Duck franchise.

Since I started my first company, Purified Audio, in 1998, I’ve learned a lot, including the importance of small details like job titles. Titles might seem like a minor concern, especially at a one or two-person start-up, but the truth is, getting them right is essential to the foundation of any business … especially now, with the exposure of my current venture, pi lab – and Edwin the Duck.

Giving clear and accurate job titles to both yourself as the business owner and the employees you eventually hire sets the tone for your growth and keeps everyone in their own lane. However, there are also some pitfalls to be avoided. If you’re trying to decide what your title is, or the title of your new hire, here are some points to consider about the message those titles send to both your employees and the outside world.

What’s in a name?

In the broader business community, a job title is one of the first things your peers want to learn about you. The job title sends a message about the level of responsibility someone has and what duties they’re responsible for at the business.

For example, if someone is called a manager of some department, that implies they’re in charge of managing other employees, while a director might be a one-person department making lots of decisions. It’s important to consider the connotations of a job title, not just pick something that sounds official, impressive, or trendy.

Chain of command

The other goal achieved by giving accurate job titles to yourself and employees is to establish the organization’s chain of command early on. Whether you’re making your first, second, third or 10th hire, ask yourself what their specific tasks will be and who they will report to. By defining the role and then establishing the title, you ensure the title is comprehensive and specific to their duties.

Lastly, remember that some job titles are accompanied by salary expectations for qualified candidates. Before putting out a call for applicants, make sure you’ve done the research about comparable positions at your competitor companies and know what you’ll need to offer a talented person.

Don’t just talk the talk

Especially at a start-up, the desire to appear robust and competitive can lead to some serious job title inflation. What many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the disconnect between yours or an employee’s actual life experiences and the implications of a title can be jarring for prospective clients and partners.

For example, if a client thinks they are meeting with your company’s chief information officer, and they walk into a meeting with a 22-year-old who is fresh out of college with no work experience in IT, that sends a message about your business’ competence and legitimacy. Just because someone is your first hire in a specific department or skill set doesn’t mean they should automatically get the highest-ranking title.

Don’t give people job titles they aren’t qualified for. Just keep it real and genuine, and the titles won’t matter so much, because your success will speak for itself.

Job titles only get more important as a business grows. At first, most people on a team are usually part of sales and generating revenue, but they might take on other duties too as necessary.

With more staff on hand, job titles are essential to delineate who has what duties and who is accountable to whom. Without that organization, your internal team will be less efficient and outsiders like clients will have a hard time understanding how your business functions.


Author: Matt MacBeth is co-founder and CEO of pi lab, creators of Edwin the Duck. MacBeth and partner Don Inmon were the 2016 Indiana Vision 2025 Dynamic Leaders of the Year. See story and video.

Survey: Social Media Screening on the Rise

Before posting pictures of your late-night revelry or complaints about your job on social media, think again – 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up significantly from 60% last year and 11% in 2006.

The national survey was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll. It included a representative sample of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

Social recruiting is becoming a key part of HR departments – three in 10 employers have someone dedicated to the task. When researching candidates for a job, employers who use social networking sites are looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job (61%), if the candidate has a professional online persona (50%), what other people are posting about the candidates (37%) and for a reason not to hire a candidate (24%).

Employers aren’t just looking at social media – 69% are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well.

Of those who decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles, the reasons included:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39%
  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38%
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26%

Your online persona doesn’t just have the potential to get you in trouble. Cultivating your presence online can also lead to reward. More than four in 10 employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate. Among the primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social networking site were candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications (38%), great communication skills (37%), a professional image (36%) and creativity (35%).

Debating removing your social media profiles while job searching? Think twice before you hit delete. Fifty-seven percent of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online. Of that group, 36% like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview and 25% expect candidates to have an online presence.

Just because you got the job doesn’t mean you can disregard what you post online. More than half of employers use social networking sites to research current employees. Thirty-four percent of employers have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.