Approximately 200 professionals in the sectors of government, higher education and industry attended the fourth annual Education-to-Employment Convergence Power Breakfast on April 24 in Indianapolis, hosted by Indiana University, the Indianapolis Business Journal and Lilly Endowment Inc. The event featured a panel that discussed engaging students and sharing information about career opportunities earlier in their academic career.
Why is there growing interest in workforce development? What is at stake? What efforts are taking place in the state? Who wins when successful initiatives addressing workforce development are implemented? We asked three experts at the event.
Danette Gerald Howard, chief strategy officer and senior vice president, Lumina Foundation
“If there are successful initiatives to engage employers, it’s a win-win. The student wins because they become gainfully employed. They can get engaged in work that they find meaningful and that allows them to provide for themselves and their families. The employer wins because they are able to hire a person who feels good about working at this particular company and industry, and hopefully will be able to go out to be an ambassador for that employer. And the state also wins because we get to retain someone in Indiana who can also go out and continue to be a spokesperson for all the great opportunities that are available in our state.”
Joe Carley, director for economic development, Indiana University
“One of the key points that resonated during this year’s Education-to-Employment Convergence Power Breakfast is that there are all kinds of great workforce development initiatives around the state. Employers are looking at higher ed in a more constructive way, and they are more ready to partner; that’s a big trend we have seen in the four years of the E2E Convergence. And higher ed realizes it isn’t enough to have people sit through classes and then graduate after four years. There needs to be more immersion into career development and career awareness. There need to be high-impact practices; students’ learning depends on that spark that comes from the connections to their future. That’s starting to come together in this space – both higher ed and industry realize they need each other and need to talk in a more proactive way and earlier in the process.
Ryan Twiss, vice president of regional initiatives, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
“Everyone benefits from successful preparation and engagement of individuals in the workforce, whether you’re re-introducing someone who has moved out of the labor force or traditional college students. If we can effectively connect training programs and education programs to the skill needs of local employers so that a person can have a meaningful impact on their community and particularly their employer, everybody benefits: from the general citizen to the employer and the employee.”