IMPACT Awards Nominations Now Open

Get your pens (or keyboards) ready! Nominations for the 12th annual IMPACT Awards are now open.

Indiana INTERNnet’s awards luncheon is an annual celebration of internship excellence. The 2018 event will be held at 11:30 a.m. on February 7 at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet, the free online internship matching service managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, will accept nominations for outstanding interns, employers and career development professionals through 5 p.m. on October 20.

Check out these frequently asked questions about the nomination process and the program:

Q. What are the awards categories?

A. Intern of the Year (3): high school, college and non-traditional

Career Development Professional of the Year (1)

Employer of the Year (2): non-profit and for profit

Q. What advice do you have for applying for an award/honor?

A. Each category has specific criteria that judges will reflect on as they are choosing winners. We encourage you to include stories, facts, measurements and the significance of your nominee’s impact. The narrative should be 1,000 words or less. You should double check to make sure everything is spelled correctly.

Q. Who judges the awards?

A. A panel of impartial judges review and score the nominations. Most of the judges are Indiana INTERNnet Board Members, however it is not a requirement.

Q. Where can I find a list of past winners? 

A. The list of past winners can be found here.

Q. What will nominees/winners receive?

A. Each nominee will be announced during the program, receive a nomination certificate and will be photographed with the keynote speaker (if attending the luncheon). Certificates will be mailed to those who are unable to attend.

Winners will be announced during the program, and will receive an engraved award and a digital badge to display on websites, marketing materials, social media sites, etc. The winners will also be featured in a press release, blog posts, nominations webpage, newsletter and BizVoice Magazine.

Q. How much does it cost to attend the luncheon?

A. Individual registrations are $50 per person. Sponsorships are available, starting at $750.

Q. How can I submit a nomination?

A. Fill out the online nomination form at the Indiana INTERNnet web site and contact Karissa Rector for more information.

Photo: Tamika Catchings, four-time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA All-Star and founder of Catch the Stars Foundation delivered the keynote address to the crowd at the 2017 IMPACT Awards luncheon.

Brain Drain/Gain Workshop Yields Comprehensive Report

In late April, Purdue University partnered with the Indiana Chamber, Indiana INTERNnet and others to present a brain drain/gain workshop as part of the Chamber’s 53rd Annual Human Resources Conference. Panel discussions, presentations and more on the talent/skills gap were compiled into a comprehensive report. Read the full report.

It documents the workshop, including key takeaways and actions and is provided to those with an interest in these topics. Our aim is for the information in the report to be a resource for those working to make progress within their organization and forming collaborations with other stakeholders to move Indiana forward.

Indiana Hoops Star Keynotes Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards

Indiana INTERNnet held its annual IMPACT Awards last Wednesday, which featured a record number of award nominees. The nearly 400 attendees were also privy to a rousing speech from recently retired Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings.

Inside INdiana Business has the list of winners and nominees.

Photos:

Indiana INTERNnet to Host Three Summer Networking Events for Interns, Mentors

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Roche Diagnostics interns enjoy a day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet will host a series of intern networking events this summer to encourage community engagement.

Interns from organizations throughout Central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis Zoo (July 14) and Indiana State Fair (August 5). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues.

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.) with professional development. Following the programming, attendees will be free to explore the museum at their leisure until it closes at 5 p.m. An optional lunch will be served around noon.
  • The Indianapolis Zoo event will take place from approximately 1-5 p.m. Following professional development programming and zoo experiences, attendees will be invited to enjoy the Animals and All That Jazz concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity where Pete the Planner will speak to attendees. Interns will be invited to enjoy the fair at their leisure and participate in an optional social media contest administered by Indiana INTERNnet. The contest will conclude in the early afternoon. Fair bucks will be provided for each attendee to be used at food vendors throughout the fair.

In 2015, nearly 200 interns participated in Indiana INTERNnet events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indiana State Fair.

A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for them to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Capacity is limited and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 1 for The Children’s Museum, July 1 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 15 for the Indiana State Fair. Contact Katie Coffin to RSVP at INTERNnet@indianachamber.com or (317) 264-7535.

Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

Internships Increasingly Important in Post-Graduation Job Search

bA new report from Grace College found that unemployment has fallen about 7% for 20- to 24-year-olds. There are many reasons for upcoming college graduates to be optimistic about their job searches, but there are also noteworthy trends that should keep expectations in check and even inspire extra effort. Internships and other work-and-learn opportunities continue to be a step toward work readiness and, in many cases, job offers.

The Class of 2015 has planned ahead for the future. According to Dan Kadlec of Time, 82% of current seniors considered the availability of jobs in their field before choosing a major – a 7% increase from 2014. The Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study backs this up: 63% of 2015 grads were encouraged to pursue a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), compared to 52% of grads from 2013 and 2014. Jobs in STEM fields are often high-wage and high-demand, and STEM was the most popular major this year.

However, current job market realities are not all inviting for recent grads. Accenture found that 85% of the Class of 2015 expects to earn more than $25,000 per year out of the gate. But right now, 41% of the Classes of 2013 and 2014 earns $25,000 or less per year and nearly half of that group considers themselves underemployed.

Despite these trends, internships are one of the greatest reasons the Class of 2015 should feel confident as they begin their careers. Along with online and offline networking opportunities, internships can help graduates maximize their chances of landing a job. According to Accenture, 72% of current seniors participated in an internship during college. The reason for optimism? Nearly half of prior-year graduates found a job as a result of an internship, apprenticeship or co-op.

Internships have become less of a “bonus” on young professionals’ résumés and more of a necessity. Real-world work experience coupled with network building make experiential learning opportunities critical for students. That’s why it is so important for Indiana employers to offer structured, experiential opportunities and strong mentorship for tomorrow’s workforce.

Indiana INTERNnet exists to help increase the number and quality of internships throughout the state and connect employers with prospective interns. With all the statistics in mind, this work is key not only for each individual’s professional growth, but for strengthening Indiana’s future workforce, business climate and economy.

Check out this small sampling of stories about internships that led to full-time jobs on Indiana INTERNnet’s blog: Paige Prather; Lucas Hill; Chris Jones; Casey Spivey, and yours truly

Indiana INTERNnet is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent. The online resource, www.IndianaINTERN.net, provides valuable information and tools to assist Indiana employers with their internship programs. Its searchable database links employers with thousands of individuals seeking internships. Register for your free account, post your internships and begin connecting with potential candidates today.

INTERNnet Partnership with enFocus in Northern Indiana to Battle Brain Drain

enfcouseThis column originally appeared in the Inside INdiana Business BigWigs & New Gigs newsletter.

Indiana INTERNnet (IIN) is forging partnerships with regional groups that share equal tenacity for increasing talent retention in the state. Our newest partner, enFocus, is already making a difference in South Bend.

enFocus is a “talent incubator and social innovation engine” whose approach is to cultivate what’s in its own backyard.

Its fellowship program encourages recent graduates from the area to stay and help develop St. Joseph County by giving them the resources to solve real community problems. In addition, a partnership with the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce is creating more internships in the area than ever before.

IIN has teamed up with enFocus to pilot a strategic feedback mechanism for experiential learning program development, expansion and improvement in St. Joseph County, with the goal of expanding it statewide. The comprehensive survey will measure internship success and the impact on talent retention.

Kathleen Ryan, a first-year fellow at enFocus and project lead on the survey pilot, credits an internship as the key to discovering what she truly wanted out of her career.

“It is because of an internship with a community health outreach organization during my senior year of college that I pursued an enFocus internship,” she explains . “At that time, I fully intended to continue on to medical school post-graduation. Through this experiential learning experience, however, I found that I was more drawn to community development.”

This type of career exploration is the cornerstone of enFocus’ mission in St. Joseph County and IIN’s mission statewide. enFocus works to curb the area’s brain drain with a two-pronged system: consulting with local organizations and offering time and resources to its fellows, who work to find solutions for regional industries. Following the program, enFocus works to place fellows in jobs in the area.

Since its inception in 2012, enFocus and its fellows facilitated regional projects like SB150, South Bend’s 150th birthday celebration, and the Regional Cities Initiative.

enFocus also partners with the St. Joseph County Chamber and its internship program, InternSJC.

“Through InternSJC we offer consultative services to local companies, working with them to make internships more valuable, efficient and exciting for company staff and students seeking employment in the area post-graduation,” Ryan describes. “Also through InternSJC, we help facilitate a summer community engagement program for interns in the area, seeking to improve the student experience and perception of our region’s opportunities through social programming, networking events and community service opportunities.”

All of the organization’s facets come together for a common goal: to make St. Joseph County a better place to work and live.

“We expose students and graduates to real-life issues felt by our regional partners and challenge them to alleviate those pain points,” Ryan emphasizes. “This enables them to develop professionally and gain experience while providing invaluable service to the community.

“We realize that Michiana is not the only region in Indiana that could rally around talent and youthful leadership to grow. We want to expand our model across the state to make Indiana an even more preferable place to start a career, business or family.”

IIN and local economic and community development groups are making strides in other regions as well.

For nearly 10 years, IIN has worked with the Northeast Indiana Graduate Retention Program (GRP, now a part of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.). The Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Fellows Program is a 12-month experience that connects high potential college students with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. investors who have a regular need for new talent. The program utilizes dedicated summer internship experiences as admission into the fellowship.

In Northwest Indiana, colleges and universities are joining forces to promote their students under the umbrella of Ready Northwest Indiana, an economic development and education initiative. Ancilla College, Calumet College, Valparaiso University, St. Joseph’s College and the Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc. are teaming with IIN to meet the needs of employers through a common platform to access students prepared for internships.

We look forward to the difference these efforts will make in St. Joseph County and statewide.

To register for our free service, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net, or call (317) 264-6862 to speak with our staff about your internship program.

Janet Boston is executive director of Indiana INTERNnet — an affiliate program of the Indiana Chamber.

IMPACT Award Nominees Sought to Honor Outstanding Interns; Due Oct. 24

19090046Did you host an intern this year who went above and beyond? Does your company have an internship program that provides a solid experiential learning opportunity for students? Do you collaborate with a high school or post-secondary institution with an outstanding career development staff?

Indiana INTERNnet is saluting achievements in internships and mentoring. The organization is currently accepting nominations for the three outstanding interns, a career development professional and two employers who will be recognized at the 9th annual IMPACT Awards luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, early next year.

Individuals are invited to submit more than one nomination in any or all of the award categories:

  • Outstanding Intern (high school, college and non-traditional): contribution to employer’s business; demonstrated leadership skills during internship; and professionalism.
  • Outstanding Career Development Professional: assistance to students with internship opportunities; communication with students/employers; and coaching students on internship professionalism and career development.
  • Outstanding Employer (nonprofit and for-profit): innovative approach to an internship program; formation of meaningful project work; and providing student with professional mentor and networking opportunities.

Winners will be announced at the IMPACT Awards Luncheon in downtown Indianapolis on February 4, 2015 at the Ivy Tech Culinary Center Ballroom.

Visit Indiana INTERNnet’s web site to complete the online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is October 24.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call (317) 264-6852.

Making the Best of a Difficult Situation

In strong economic times, most college graduates quickly enter the workforce, utilize their skills to move up within their organizations and advance to leadership positions — either at their original company or elsewhere. (I hope that is the case with a daughter soon to finish her college career at DePauw).

In today's reality, that isn't always the way it works. In a worst-case scenario, one might need the following assistance through an article titled: "The Recent Grad's Guide to Surviving Layoffs." After taking care of some necessary financial matters, there is very sound advice (condensed below) on turning a layoff into "an opportunity rather than a catastrophe." The full article is available here.

And there is always the Indiana Chamber's Indiana INTERNnet program to guide you through the world of internships.

Obtain Additional Education

  •  Certification Program: If finances and your personal circumstances permit, you may take this opportunity to earn a post-baccalaureate certificate in your industry. Additional certifications will build on the experience you already have and make you a more competitive candidate for a new position.
  •  Graduate School: Some master’s programs require students to have worked in the industry before returning to school; viewed positively, this could be a golden opportunity. Full-time graduate students may defer student loan obligations and may also be eligible for more financial aid. Attending an online school may also be an attractive option.
  • Federal Job Training Programs: The federal government has resources in place for unemployed individuals to acquire additional training. Funds that assist dislocated workers are available through CareerOneStop, a service provided by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

 Stay Active in Your Industry

  •  Use Your Former Employer as a Resource: While it may seem counterintuitive, staying in contact with your former employer can unearth opportunities to network that you may not have expected. Ask if outplacement services are offered, and follow up if so.
  •  Tap Into Your Network: Reach out to friends and colleagues and explain your situation in simple terms; there is no social stigma to being laid off and no need to be embarrassed. Using social media tools can help you reach people you otherwise would never have met.
  •  Be an Industry Insider: If cost is not prohibitive, attend industry events like conferences, trade shows or seminars. You will continue to build your contact list, keep your face in front of people who have the potential to hire you, and learn new skills at the same time.
  •  Continue to Read, Research, and Learn: As you search for new employment, keep up on industry news by subscribing to trade publications or attending association meetings.

 Create Opportunities to Gain Work Experience

  •  Part-Time Work: Consider part-time work, possibly from the company that laid you off in the first place. The concept of Survivor Demotions often doesn’t occur to employers; if you’re about to lose your salaried position, ask if you can take a demotion to a lower-level job in the company or perform your old job on a part-time basis.
  •  Work Share: In some states, companies that are downsizing are willing to implement work-sharing programs. Rather than eliminating jobs in the workforce, these companies reduce the hours and benefits of a group of workers. These workers are still eligible for partial unemployment insurance, and therefore don’t experience a loss in income until unemployment resources end.
  •  Contract Positions: Temporary or contract positions also provide experience and help you meet new people in influential positions.
  •  Volunteer: Using your unique skills in a volunteer position can increase your networking opportunities while you perform a good deed. Unpaid internships may also lead to new business contacts or a full-time position.

 

 

Back to Work: From ‘Intern’ to ‘Return’

Our Indiana INTERNnet program has been touting "returnships" the last several years. The benefits are plentiful for both employers and those seeking to re-enter the workforce.

Check out some analysis below from the Challenger Gray & Christmas outplacement and consulting firm:

“Employers are consistently wary of employment gaps brought on by a layoff, parenthood, or some other life event that prohibits working. A ‘returnship’ for former or transitioning professionals with otherwise sterling employment records, but prolonged unemployment, solves this issue,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement and business coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Candidates, such as returning mothers or retirees, who have been out of work for six months or longer are perceived as having outdated skills.  As a result, they are often screened out early in the recruiting process.  A ‘returnship’ on a resume shows the employer that the candidates are willing to learn, have updated training and recent on-the-job experience, making them much more marketable,” said Challenger.

“The benefit to companies, unlike with entry-level interns, is that returnees can be assigned more complicated projects depending on their previous industry experience and set of skills.”

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, Goldman Sachs offered an 8 week paid “returnship” for non-client facing departments in 2008. The effort resulted in 6 hirings from the 11 attendees. Since then, the program has grown to include positions nationwide and helped 120 individuals return to the workforce, according the company’s 2011 Environmental, Social and Governance Report. Moreover, those enrolled took on advanced tasks, such as developing training programs or creating mechanisms for client confidentiality.

“Companies would be wise to invest in ‘returnship’ programs in order to find and develop the right talent for their organization, which does not always mean the youngest or most malleable. Older professionals, returning mothers, and veterans already have the on-the-job experience most internships are created to impart on college-aged job seekers,” said Challenger.

“Professionals interested in pursuing this sort of opportunity should not sit back and wait for a company to develop a ‘returnship’ program. Request meetings with high-level executives at companies that interest you and suggest starting such a program yourself. If you can convince one company of the benefits, others may follow suit.

“Professionals should treat the process as a constant interview. Take initiative, show how you can benefit the company, befriend those who are already employed with the organization, always be on time and professional, and seek feedback,” offered Challenger.
 
# # #
 
Who Benefits From “Returnships?”

The Returning Parent – Mothers and fathers who have left the job market to raise a family often return to biased employers who are wary of their skill sets and absence from the workforce.

Transitioning Military – Former military have extensive on-the-job training in new technology, leadership development, and discipline, but lack experience with corporate culture a “returnship” would offer.

Older Workers – Older professionals have to deal with age discrimination, as well as potential gaps in employment.

Expatriates – Workers going to other countries for employment would gain necessary and helpful experience in another culture.

Long-term Unemployed – Whatever the reason for the employment gap, a “returnship” would revitalize a resume.

Employers – Recruiting interns who already have extensive on-the-job experience is valuable for any employer, as these professionals are ready to hit the ground running and take on meatier tasks.