As Crimson Catalyst readers know, the 2017 Education-to-Employment Convergence event was held April 20. As I look back on the event, it feels as though educators and industry leaders in Indiana have made progress on the issue that E2E addresses: ensuring that Indiana college graduates have a successful college-to-career transition.
In the three years that Innovate Indiana has hosted E2E, a community of stakeholders has come together around the issue. New, creative partnerships between employers and educators have emerged, and events focused on developing and retaining college graduates have proliferated, often featuring representatives of many of the state’s leading employers. In fact, shortly after this year’s E2E Convergence, I attended two events in Bloomington in one week, both featuring panel discussions focused on this topic.
These anecdotal observations that we are making progress on this subject are backed up by statistical evidence.
A recent article detailed the success that 2016 IUPUI graduates have had in transitioning into employment. Almost 90 percent of graduates reported a positive career outcome, and the mean salary for a student graduating with a bachelor’s degree was $43,600.
The IUPUI survey also highlighted the fact that many students’ skill development experiences — such as internships, co-ops or capstone classes — led to their first job.
The Innovate Indiana team also conducted a survey of this year’s E2E attendees, as we have done every year after the event. Many responses focused on the need to continue to identify and showcase partnerships that result in mutual wins for employers, educators and graduates, and on the importance of convening the stakeholders together frequently — which, again, seems to be happening. Respondents identified soft skills and communication skills as highly important for early career success.
Our own experiences organizing E2E confirm the need for soft skills and communication skills. For two years, we have worked with a student intern, Kristin Roberts, from the tourism, conventions and event management program at IUPUI, on planning E2E. Working with Kristin has been an excellent experience that has highlighted how critical it is to have young employees who can effectively represent the organization to the myriad external partners who contribute to a large event.
In keeping with the theme of the event, we’ve given Kristin progressively more responsibilities, this year asking her to effectively function as our lead event planner. Working with Kristin has been highly rewarding, and it represents one more small example of how all parties can benefit from bringing young employees on in the right role.