Ascend Indiana, Indiana University, Purdue UniversityINDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 10, 2022) — Indiana’s top two public research universities are joining forces to keep more graduates in the state and fill the Hoosier talent pipeline with highly skilled workers.

Indiana University and Purdue University have partnered with Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Through the Ascend Network, the initiative’s online job matching platform, IU and Purdue will be able to more effectively connect students with Indiana career opportunities that match their skill sets and interests, as well as offer increased one-on-one career guidance and job search support. This partnership provides Indiana’s leading employers with a unique platform for hiring the state’s college students for internships and jobs.

Since its inception in 2017, Ascend has connected more than 2,200 Indiana college students and recent graduates with jobs and internships in all sectors across the Hoosier state. Almost one-third of those are students from Purdue and IU, including regional campuses throughout Indiana. More than 550 employers are using the Ascend Network.

“IU and Purdue both recognize the major opportunity we have to drive ‘brain gain’ in our state, and build a healthy, innovative and internationally competitive economy,” said Bill Stephan, Indiana University’s vice president for government relations and economic engagement. “We know that as many as 80% of graduates at our regional campuses around the state stay in their home regions after they complete their education. These alumni continue to make vital contributions to the economic growth and vitality of their communities. We are committed to bringing more talented graduates back to the state and to ensuring that we keep Indiana’s talent pipeline full of employees equipped with the skills that our state’s leading employers need and demand.”

“This new partnership augments the portfolio of resources for students and alumni looking for post-collegiate careers right here in Indiana,” said Steve Abel, Purdue’s associate provost for engagement. “Purdue has long been a positive contributor to the workforce pipeline in multiple sectors throughout the state. Employers continually say Purdue grads are among the most employable in the nation.”

The Ascend Network will be offered on campus and via career services offices at no cost to students. Through the network, students receive personalized job and internship recommendations that lead to meaningful careers in Indiana. During the job search, application and interview process, a career mentor provides free, one-on-one support and educational resources.

Both Purdue and IU have made major contributions already to contribute to the “brain gain” in the state, including their engagement in the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, or READI. Multiple Purdue and IU campuses submitted proposals for projects to enhance regional prosperity across the state. Both schools participate in other “brain gain” initiatives like TMap, an alumni recruiting organization based in Indianapolis.

IU is engaged in a variety of strategic efforts, including the Innovate Indiana initiative, to more effectively connect its intellectual and creative resources and expertise with the workforce needs of the state. This year, IU was among the top 100 worldwide universities granted U.S. patents, showcasing cutting-edge research that translates into commercial technologies, driving economic growth and opportunities for students and alumni. IU recently received a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to engage its leading-edge information technology expertise to improve the flow of students through Indiana’s K-16 school pipeline into the state’s workforce.

IU is making major contributions to the success of the startup world in Indiana by investing in high-potential, early-stage companies with strong university connections, and expanding educational and experiential learning opportunities for students. IU’s startup investment arm, IU Ventures, made new and follow-on investments in 19 Hoosier companies in 2020-21, making it one of the three most active funds in the state. IU Ventures also recently announced a new, two-year pilot program designed to help IU students explore the fundamentals of early-stage business investment and consider locating their startup in Indiana.

Read more about Purdue’s partnership with Ascend Indiana.