INDIANAPOLIS — A unique program works to showcase what the Indianapolis region has to offer to new college graduates, even in a pandemic.
Hannah Stark is a Center Grove grad and studied Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. While the Indy-area was no stranger to the south-sider, she kept her options open when searching for a career after college.
"I had a lot of options when I left college of where I could go and not all of them were in Indiana," says Stark, who accepted an internship with Roche in Indianapolis. Due to the pandemic, her internship was completely remote.
Enter in, Indyfluence — a unique program and collaborative effort to attract and retain top talent.
Indyfluence works to connect prospective employees with what the area has to offer by showcasing the city's culture and leadership opportunities.
For Stark who was interning from home, taking part in the program was a big piece of what encouraged her to stay in the area after completing her degree.
"The job is so much more than what you do for 40 hours a week," says Stark. "You have to enjoy the culture you are immersed in, and the place that you are working,"
Stark accepted a job offer from Roche and is one of nearly 40 participants in the program who choose to work in Indy, many of them making that decision without ever stepping foot in the Circle City.
"The Indyfluence program is something that I'm not aware that any other city offers, and so that really helped me solidify that decision and made me confident in staying in Indy," says Stark.
Several major corporations collaborate to make Indyfluence a part of their internship programs. Indyfluence utilizes three main pillars: Meet Indy, Learn from Indy and Give Back to Indy.
Meet Indy helps interns learn what it is like to live in the Indy region and they start to make diverse connections in the community. Learn from Indy is about discovering personal growth opportunities and participants become engaged with leaders in the city. And Give Back to Indy is an interactive experience allowing participants to take part in an impact grant experience where $14,000 is awarded to a local nonprofit in the area.
Candy Gee is the Diversity and Inclusion Partner for Roche and she sees the impact of Indyfluence firsthand when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.
"It really completes this picture for students to understand what it would be like to live here, to work here and then to get involved in the community," says Gee. "For us, really looking for that talent and we are very focused on making sure we have diversity across the board, so diversity of thought, ethnic diversity, gender diversity, so it's really important for us to cast a wider net."
Through the remote internship experience in the pandemic, companies like Roche were able to utilize student interns from different states and even some different countries. Gee says that aspect helped them get introduced to a wide range of prospective job candidates and that the Indyfluence program helped entice those participants to give Indy a shot.
Sponsor companies include Roche, Lilly, IU Health, OneAmerica, Indianapolis Airport Authority and Century 21.
Programming partners include INNOVATIVE, Indy Chamber, Indyhub and Ascend.
Gee says all of these companies and organizations working together in this effort is key to its success and the future success of the job market here in Indianapolis.
"We can have this holistic approach to how we attract individuals and then at the end of the day it really works out best for all of us," says Gee. "We get to attract that key talent to our beautiful city."
Last year, 500 interns came from 34 states, three countries and more than 100 universities to participate in Indyfluence which was mostly virtual this past year.
This current group is the largest in Indyfluence history with more than 600 participants, and 80% of them are completing internships remotely.
Nearly 40% of last year's interns accepted jobs in the Indy region and according to a survey they conducted, 8.38 out of 10 who participated in Indyfluence say they would consider a job here in Indy.
For Stark, the community giving part of Indyfluence made the most impact on her decision.
"It was incredibly important because without even actually being physically here, you get to learn about the people the places you can go the livability, what your life will be like outside your professional world," says Stark. "That's why I loved Indy. It's because, through this program, I was able to learn about all of these amazing people all of this diversity, how I can give back to the community and be a change maker myself."
To learn more about Indyfluence and how to get involved you can visit their website www.indyfluence.com.