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Janet Boston - 6/1/2011
Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/contributors.asp?ID=2772

For nearly 10 years, IIN has worked with the Northeast Indiana Graduate Retention Program (GRP, now a part of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.) and sees this partnership as a model for other regional initiatives. GRP strives to connect education and industry in Northeast Indiana to create a skilled workforce and successful economy. Through this partnership, local staff support and further the development of internships using IIN and local resources. IIN works with GRP by promoting student internships and developing community partnerships to bridge the gap between industry and education.

Others within the state are developing strategies to utilize internships to strengthen workforce development initiatives in their regions.

In Northwest Indiana, colleges and universities are joining forces to promote their students under the umbrella of Ready Northwest Indiana, an economic development and education initiative. Ancilla College, Calumet College, Valparaiso University, St. Joseph’s College and the Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc. (CWI) are teaming with IIN to meet the needs of employers through a common platform to access students prepared for internships. This effort also gives colleges more information on current employment opportunities, which allows them to better guide their students. In addition, CWI will further engage high schools to promote the value of internships.

Linda Woloshansky, president and CEO of CWI, comments, “We are thrilled with the interest from a number of employer organizations that will be marketing both Indiana INTERNnet and the overall value of internships to their memberships.” She lists involvement from these organizations: Lakeshore and Crossroads Chambers of Commerce in Lake County, the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce in Porter County, the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board.

In north central Indiana, the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce developed the Intern SJC program. This is a partnership between the local business community, IIN and the career counselors at local colleges and universities. The program is intended to be the connection into the business community, identifying opportunities where students can participate in experiential learning that could lead to future employment. This program is seen as an important element in the effort to attract and retain top talent in the South Bend region.

Jeff Rea, president and CEO of St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, says, “The retention of top talent is one of the most critical elements of our economic development program. We know that if we can retain those local graduates that seek to return home, those students at our local colleges and universities or those students looking for a new opportunity, then we’ll set ourselves apart from our competition. We believe the Indiana INTERNnet program and our local Intern SJC program will help us do just that. We are excited to be a partner for the program and believe it will lead to real opportunities for those students looking to experience the new energy here in the South Bend region.”

These partnerships between regional employers and educational institutions are critical for developing internships to strengthen the workforce and retain top talent in Indiana – ultimately helping to propel the state’s economic growth. IIN serves as the central resource for internships by providing information, services and connections throughout the state.

To learn more about these initiatives, contact Indiana INTERNnet at (317) 264-6852 or www.indianaintern.net.