‘Let Indiana Work for You’ Program Encourages Graduates to Stay

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s future depends on keeping talented college graduates – those from Indiana and from out-of-state – in their communities and in the state after graduation.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is piloting a new program called Let Indiana Work for You at five Indiana campuses during the 2019-2020 school year with plans to take the program statewide in the 2020-2021 school year.

Let Indiana Work for You was enacted by the state legislature in 2019 and the Commission was tasked with coordinating and distributing information to pilot college campuses during the current school year. Those campuses are Ball State University, Indiana State University, Purdue University West Lafayette, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville, and Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne.

The Commission created a toolkit for participating campuses with information focusing on statewide and regional economic and financial benefits, including top industries; major employers; entrepreneurial and startup benefits; and cost of living and wage information by region.

There is also a focus on quality of life and young professional benefits, which includes information on arts and culture; festivals; sporting events; and natural amenities. Coworking spaces, young professional groups, opportunities for volunteering and ways to give back are also listed.

Let Indiana Work for You is a partnership among several state agencies, including the Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, and the Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent. Resources for the toolkit come from local businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, as well as non-profits organizations.

“Indiana is taking a proactive approach to market to Indiana’s talented college graduates that there are good jobs, a low cost of living and numerous quality opportunities for graduates to become involved in their communities,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We can enhance these messages by collecting and packaging existing data and resources for our higher learning institutions to distribute to the students as they are deciding the next steps for their futures.”

Sen. John Ruckelshaus (R-30) was the author of the bill that created Let Indiana Work for You.

“The vision behind Let Indiana Work for You is to help steer the state’s graduates to specific professional opportunities and give the students the tools to help them decide Indiana is the place they want to live and work. We are offering a comprehensive list of resources and data to ensure our higher education institutions have the information needed to encourage and support students to stay in Indiana after graduation. I am pleased to see this combined effort of many of our state agencies to collect and package this information and help further our workforce,” he said.

The Commission estimates at least 70 percent of Hoosier college graduates from two- and four-year public institutions stay in Indiana. The percentage of state financial aid recipients stay at an even greater rate: at least 75 percent.

To reach Indiana’s big goal of at least 60 percent of Hoosiers with quality education beyond a high school diploma by 2025, the state must not only encourage more Hoosiers to attain higher credentials, but also stay in the state once they’ve graduated.

“We have an opportunity to reach out to more of Indiana’s college graduates and convey that Indiana is not just a great state in which to earn a degree, but that it’s a smart decision for students to stay here – both for their financial outlook and quality of life experiences,” Lubbers said.

For more information about Let Indiana Work for You, visit www.learnmoreindiana.org/LIWFY.