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Scene at recent Fort Wayne job fair.

Study encourages collaboration between colleges, businesses

Statement, verbatim, as distributed Monday by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Opportunities for internships and cooperative educational experiences for higher education students should be increased, according to a study released by the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana in conjunction with the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board and Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

The study, done at the request of the Indiana State Senate, was conducted by CHORUS Inc. and is being used by legislators to guide decisions regarding degree programs and regional campus governance. The findings will also help guide the region's talent and workforce development initiatives.

“To prepare Indiana's graduates to enter the 21st century workforce, we must understand the needs of Hoosier employers,” said Senate Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne.)

The study, “The Talent Resource Considerations Aligned to Regional Employers,” aligns with the three regional organizations' adoption of the Big Goal, which aims to increase the number of Northeast Indiana residents with a high quality degree or credential to 60 percent by 2025.

Among the study's findings are that higher education and business would benefit from a higher degree of communication and collaboration, and the greatest regional skill needs are in healthcare, information technology, engineering and accounting/finance.

“As a region, we are striving to build a demand-driven talent pipeline that is responsive to the needs of Northeast Indiana employers. The study highlights the critical role area higher education institutions have in preparing our future workforce,” said Kathleen Randolph, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board.

More than 125 Northeast Indiana employers were surveyed or interviewed to gain a better understanding of regional talent demands as they relate to higher education institutions.

The study focused on employers' assessments of the region's business climate and how higher education impacts it; the current state of Northeast Indiana's talent pool and businesses' anticipated needs; employers' strategies for attracting and retaining talent; and the relationships between area businesses and higher education institutions.

“Northeast Indiana is sharply focused on building the infrastructure for a highly talented workforce aligned to the needs of regional employers,” said Vince Buchanan, executive director of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana. “The survey results provide valuable insights to guide the strategic direction for our workforce development initiatives.”

John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership added, “Competition in the global marketplace requires fundamental changes to the way we approach talent development for Northeast Indiana. It's essential for higher education and employers to collaborate closely if we intend to develop and retain the best talent required to compete internationally.”

The full report can be found in the Resource Center on the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 website.

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board

The Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board provides public and private financial and employment resources to businesses and individuals for education and skills training to meet the needs of regional industries. The board sets policy for how public and private funds are utilized to support talent development. It also operates and staffs the 11 county-based WorkOne career centers in the region. Individuals and companies may access resources and services by visiting or calling WorkOne in their county.

About the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana:

The mission of the Regional Chamber is to promote an environment in Northeast Indiana in which individuals, businesses and communities thrive in a global economy. We focus on the pillars of 21st Century talent, World Class Infrastructure, and a Competitive Business Climate.Learn more at www.neinadvocates.com.

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.

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