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Indiana: 11 Reasons Why

Things are happening in Indiana that may have a big impact on your future. Here’s why you should pay attention:

1. Indiana companies are serious about hiring young talent. It’s estimated that Indiana is poised to create 1 million jobs in the next decade, and that’s where the non-profit Ascend Indiana comes in. Twenty-four (and counting) employer partners like One America, Cook Group, Eil Lilly and Co., Franciscan Health and Deloitte are tapping into the Ascend Network and its cloud-based platform that combines algorithms with human interaction to match early-in-career talent (college students or recent graduates) to jobs and internships. Candidates meet one-on-one with an Ascend representative after completing an interest form at ascendindiana.com. The representative serves as your resource during the job search and application process—a real win when resumes too often seem to disappear into the blackhole of online applications. All majors are welcome, and, best of all, it’s all free. Ascend Indiana is unique to Indiana and corporations are rallying around the concept, proving that no other state wants college talent more.

2. Technology is changing the landscape. Indiana’s strong universities are graduating talent that has made the state’s tech ecosystem one of the strongest among Midwest states. In cities like South Bend, tech is transforming urban spaces like the former Studebaker plant into a massive mixed-use technology center. A recent $42.4 million grant from the Lilly Endowment will establish the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation Network to enhance technology, workforce-development programs, and engineering facilities in South Bend and Elkhart. A similar transformation is happening in Fort Wayne, at a former General Electric plant. In central Indiana, the non-profit TechPoint (techpoint.org) is a growth accelerator for Indiana’s technology sector, connecting college students and recent graduates to careers (techpoint.org/job-board/).

(Above) Shalamar Armstrong, third from left, works in the field with Purdue University students. Armstrong is an assistant professor of agronomy in the Purdue University College of Agriculture. THRIVE Ag-Tech is expanding to the Midwest through a partnership with Indiana agriculture and animal health organizations. Photo courtesy of Purdue University, College of Agriculture.

3. Agbioscience is more than farming. Indiana’s agbioscience industry is a significant driver of Indiana’s economy, accounting for $10 billion in crop and livestock products sold, according to AgriNovus Indiana (agrinovusindiana.com). College graduates with degrees in food, agriculture, and natural resources will need to step in and fill nearly 58,000 jobs across the country, but agriculture also offers jobs in engineering, computer science, informatics, global studies, communications, chemistry and biology. In addition to growing food for the world, the agbiosciences sector will need to address environmental impacts.

4. Manufacturing is big—and here to stay. Indiana is a huge manufacturing state, and finding skilled talent is important to keep the state producing everything from cars to medical devices to plastics. “What it means to work in advanced manufacturing and logistics is evolving and creating more opportunities for Hoosiers who are prepared to work alongside advanced technologies,” said J. Mark Howell, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana (conexusindiana.com), an organization that helps build and connect Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics talent. “Due to its robust manufacturing and logistics economies, its emerging tech sector and its pioneering educational institutions, Indiana is uniquely situated to thrive and sustain its national leadership in this new era.” Manufacturing companies—small and large—are expanding and hiring college grads to help steer the future.

The Root co-working space in downtown New Albany offers special rates for students.

5. Entrepreneurs are supported. Don’t just take it from us: Chief Executive magazine named Indiana among the top five in the U.S. for business in 2018. Many Indiana colleges and universities offer classes and special programs for budding entrepreneurs, but if you missed that boat, you’ll find support in every corner of the state. Look for incubators associated with your college or university, or check out the many co-working, micro-manufacturing spaces, makerspaces, commercial kitchens and accelerators in your community or hometown. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (iedc.in.gov/startup) has a list of hundreds of such spaces, as well as resources for your startup.

6. Orr Fellowship can make your career extraordinary. The Orr Fellowship program started in 2001 with a mission to develop the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Nearly 20 years later, the program is still going strong. Orr Fellows take fully paid positions at innovative, carefully selected Indiana host companies and, outside of work, spend two years engaged in civic activities and workshops designed to inspire entrepreneurial spirit. To find out more, visit orrfellowship.org.

7. Indiana is a life science leader. “From the discovery of the product to getting a medicine or medical device in the hands of a healthcare provider, Indiana’s large and dynamic life sciences industry offers a myriad of job opportunities—scientists, researchers, engineers, mathematicians, marketers, accountants and more,” said Lori LeRoy, vice president for communications, BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com). “There are more than 1,700 companies and more than 56,000 people in Indiana that are making medical breakthroughs and improving lives every day. Indiana’s life sciences companies are creating therapeutics for cancer, Hepatitis B and migraines, developing monitors to help infants in surgery, developing medicines and devices for heart disease and diabetes, and many other innovations. Indiana is one of the top life sciences regions in the U.S. The magic combination of Indiana’s depth and breadth of life sciences resources together with a community of industry, academia and philanthropy partners who collaborate well and often, has secured a strategy for Indiana’s economic future as well as for the health of its citizens and the rest of the world.”

“There isn’t a typical career path when working for a large Orthopaedic company, but that’s the beauty of it. The broad range of opportunities allow you to create your own path. For example, it isn’t rare to see someone go from engineering to marketing and the company will typically be supportive if it makes sense. The company I work for is constantly recruiting recent college grads. The mentality in recruiting these new college grads isn’t to get production out of them, but instead to invest in them. They are provided with support, guidance, and many career development opportunities.”
—Berto Isaza, product development engineer, DePuy Synthes

8. Young professionals are organized. It’s a thing, really. Nearly every Chamber of Commerce in Indiana, plus many other organizations, sponsor groups for young professionals that are designed to help new college graduates learn to love their communities. In larger cities, like Indianapolis, there are multiple opportunities to find your tribe, such as Indyhub.org and Young Professionals of Central Indiana, as well as groups connected to arts and non-profit groups. You’ll find opportunities to serve, events for meeting new people, and occasions to eat, drink, and have fun outside your 9-to-5 routine.

Orthoworx sponsors networking events for young professionals in Warsaw. Photo courtesy Orthoworx Inc.

9. Orthopedics means opportunity. Warsaw—a small city near amazing lakes in northern Indiana—is famous for its title as orthopedics capital of the world, with 60 percent of the global hip and knee replacement market. Lives are transformed across the globe with orthopedics that start right here in Indiana. Co-ops, internships and jobs exist in every area, from engineering to tech to advanced manufacturing, human resources and finance. Even more good news: Careers in the orthopedics industry pay around $10,000 more than state and national averages. You can learn more at thinkortho.net, a program of OrthoWorx, a non-profit that exists to grow and attract talent and innovation to Indiana’s industry.

10. Indiana is affordable. Your new-salary dollars will go further in Indiana, whether you are buying a home, a car, or just shopping for groceries. U.S. News ranks Indiana at #3 in housing affordability and #2 in overall affordability, with a cost of living 9 percent below the national average.

11. And livable. The website realtor.com decided to find out where younger Americans make up the largest percentage of home purchasers and dubbed Evansville a “millennial magnet” for its strong economy benefitting first-time buyers. And Livability.com noted that, “With 80 award-winning parks, 100 miles of trails and three rivers, Fort Wayne is a literal playground for residents and visitors of all ages. This, along with its steady economy, affordable housing and high scores in education made it an obvious pick” for the website’s 2019 Best Places to Live list. Meanwhile, Indy ‘burbs Carmel and Fishers are also perennial favorites in city rankings. Still feeling restless? Indiana is the crossroads of America, with interstate highways making road trips a snap, and the Indianapolis International Airport was picked as the top airport in North America by Airport Council International’s 2018 Airport Service Quality Awards, for the eighth year in a row.

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