Education & Workforce Development

Ring maker remakes industry with big buyout: Herff Jones' purchase of American Achievement to narrow roster of rivals to two; deal may be worth $700MRestricted Content

May 26, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
Herff Jones Inc.'s latest acquisition is a whopper that will remake the competitive dynamics of its niche industry-the sale of high school rings, yearbooks and other products that help mark educational milestones. The Indianapolis-based company this month agreed to buy American Achievement Group Holding Corp., a deal that would reduce the roster of Herff's major competitors from three to two. Herff has $511 million in annual revenue, while American Achievement has $315 million. Terms were not disclosed, but Dow Jones'...
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Revival in nuclear energy puts engineers in demand: Purdue concerned about possible shortage in fieldRestricted Content

May 26, 2008
Scott Olson
A renewed interest in nuclear energy coming at the same time aging workers are leaving the industry has created the elements for a shortage of nuclear engineers. Nuclear energy as an electricity source is enjoying a resurgence nearly 30 years after a reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania severely tarnished the industry's image. Escalating oil prices and stiffening environmental regulations on coal-based systems are helping to spawn the rebirth of nuclear technology. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Hoosier wages not growing muchRestricted Content

May 19, 2008
Morton Marcus
We've just come through an Indiana primary in which the competing campaigns kept emphasizing Hoosier jobs. It would have meant more if they had talked about Hoosier wages and salaries. But then, facts are harder to digest than rhetoric. Here are some facts you can chew on. At the start of this century (2000), the average wage (total wages and salaries divided by total number of full- and parttime jobs) in Indiana was $30,401, ranking 27th in the nation. By...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Are you a rational investor in today's irrational market?Restricted Content

May 19, 2008
Thomas Hardin
A volatile market is turning the rational investor irrational. Irrationals show up when markets get volatile or decline. They surface to buy stocks during bubbles, such as the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and early 2000. They react to the news of the day. Let's start with a bit of education about what a rational investor looks like. Then outline how to adjust behaviors to remain rational-and actually benefit-during market ups and downs. What is a rational investor? Dr....
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Wheeler Mission backers to kick off fund drive: Push to address building needs, ease financial strainRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
In February, Indianapolis' Wheeler Mission Ministries cut non-residential programming to stave off a budget shortfall as donations flat-lined and more homeless people came through its doors. Now the mission is facing more tough times, projecting as much as a $500,000 shortfall for the fiscal year that begins June 1. To help close the gap, supporters are kicking off Operation Restoration, a fund drive they hope will raise $11 million to help the mission expand, pay building debts, and build a...
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Student loan industry still in limbo, despite new law: Sallie Mae, others wait for details from governmentRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
A federal bill intended to bail out student loan lenders like Sallie Mae, one of central Indiana's top employers, has raced like a bullet through Congress-a remarkable feat for Washington lawmakers. But what the future holds for embattled student lenders remains murky. While the newly passed measure will increase liquidity by allowing the U.S. Department of Education to buy loans, it leaves responsibility for working out the details to bureaucrats. In effect, Congress said in the bill that the Department...
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Companies prepare for tougher breach law: Writer of security bill wanted more protectionsRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
Kristin Mcfarland
Imagine a busy local bank that signs several new accounts weekly. With each new customer, the bank receives that person's Social Security number, home and business addresses, and entire financial history. But what if a computer containing all that personal information-so useful for identity theft-is stolen from the building? Should the company notify its customers of the possible danger or hope the information itself is safe and keep quiet to avoid scandal? To answer those questions, the Indiana General Assembly...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: A healthy economy makes an uninteresting campaignRestricted Content

May 5, 2008
Mike Hicks
In this curious primary season, Indiana finds itself the brief center of attention as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama invest time and treasure in the crossroads of America. The strongest focus in both their campaigns is my favorite subject-the economy. Both candidates bemoan the poor Hoosier economy, its job losses and income inequality. This would be a superb campaign approach for both candidates, except that their claims are wholly, totally and embarrassingly devoid of facts. Indiana's economy is doing...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Making green make sense in a competitive marketRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Robert Stefanski
Day after day, the news seems filled with stories of disruptive credit markets, an economy teetering on recession, and increasing energy costs. As business professionals grapple with such issues daily, why would commercial real estate professionals consider the time and effort to "go green"? Historically, green initiatives suffered in part from stereotypical "tree-hugger" false perceptions. Such perceptions may lead people to believe that green investments simply aren't worth it. The truth? The real focus has always been the efficient use...
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IU-Bloomington, IUPUI ditch private-sector lenders: Student loan turmoil spurs schools to tap federal fundsRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
With turmoil in student lending markets escalating, some universities are making major changes to ensure students have access to loans for the upcoming academic year. The answer for the Bloomington campus of Indiana University and for IUPUI is to return to getting loans straight from the federal government under the Direct Loan Program. The change will go into effect at the start of the next academic year. The two universities here are following other schools across the country making the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: There is no better time to think about going globalRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Michael Snyder
A weak dollar. Lost jobs. Liquidity challenges. These and other perceived barriers tend to unfortunately mute short-term considerations for Indiana businesses thinking about international expansion. The reality? Globalization of U.S. businesses is alive and well, and proceeding at a breakneck pace. In fact, America and the world remain embroiled in likely the greatest commercial transformation since the Industrial Revolution with the full integration of U.S. markets in an open era of innovation and productivity. How does this play out in...
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International students flock to Purdue, IU: State schools are national leaders in attracting foreign-born scholarsRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Purdue and Indiana universities have become magnets for international students. Purdue is third in foreign student enrollment among all U.S. private and public colleges and universities. Indiana is No. 15. Another Big Ten school-the University of Illinois-is No. 2. The University of Southern California is the leader, with 7,000 foreign students. Purdue currently has 4,994 foreign students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs, while IU has 4,027. This year, overall, there are about 39,102 students enrolled at Purdue's main campus...
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VIEWPOINT: Lest we forget, 'solid and stable' is goodRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Tim Kern
"I moved to Indiana on purpose," I've been telling people since the move from Florida last August. The Indianapolis area attracted me and my business for a number of reasons-reasons which, I'm more convinced each day, Hoosiers take for granted. Someone might want to consider the good that's right in front of our collective noses: Unlike Florida, whence I emigrated, people here know who can get things done, where businesses are, and whose reputation is good. A state full of...
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Making Hoosiers more educated is a tricky task ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:Restricted Content

April 21, 2008
Mike Hicks
One thing that virtually every bit of serious research on education has revealed is that parents play the biggest role in educational outcomes. My own work in this area found that more than 90 percent of the differences in regional educational attainment can be attributed solely to the educational history of parents. Families play a far bigger role in educational success than any differences that occur across schools. So, what then does this mean for public policy? In my last...
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A life of hard work, from the farm to the House: Thompson, who has three business degrees, wants to give boost to economically disadvantaged countiesRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Nearly 30 years ago, former State Sen. Katie Wolf appeared at a "women in politics" conference in Gary. Afterward, Jill Long Thompson, then 25, marched up and asked for advice. Thompson had her sights set on joining the Valparaiso City Council. Wolf offered her phone number. She soon found Thompson waiting on her doorstep, bursting with questions about how a female Democrat should campaign in a conservative, rural area. "What struck me was her determination to win," Wolf remembered. "After...
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IU leader's goal: global integration: CIBER director wants center's work to influence all areas of business educationRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Scott Olson
Barbara Flynn, a veteran of academia who arrived at Indiana University in 2006, is director of the IU Center for International Business Education and Research. CIBER, founded in 1981, creates business research and study opportunities for IU faculty and students, with the ultimate goal of preparing graduates to compete in today's global economy. The center mostly is funded federally and operates on a $500,000 annual budget. The 55-year-old Flynn has a degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin and...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How kids do in high school matters to economyRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Mike Hicks
Far too often, our worry about the shortterm state of the economy prevents us from focusing on the long term. That's too bad because it is the long term, not the short run, that we have the most ability to influence. The most important issue looming for Indiana and the nation is education. Here is the fate of a representative group of 10 18-year-olds. Four years ago, our 10 Hoosier students entered high school. One could not read. As of...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Why is home ownership a big deal?Restricted Content

April 14, 2008
Morton Marcus
Housing remains one of our most domestic industries. The labor used to build the houses themselves is still local. Products we put into our homes (furnaces, plumbing, appliances, etc.) are still primarily made in the United States from domestic parts. All that is changing. More and more work is being done off-site and more of the components installed have foreign origins. Now, without our thinking about it, the financing of our homes has become an article of international trade. Once...
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Charter schools face long wait for county funding: State, local money based on outdated mechanismRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
The property tax reform plan recently signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to provide relief-eventually-for most homeowners. Unfortunately, the tax crisis wasn't fixed fast enough for charter schools. Because property taxes haven't been calculated yet this year, schools didn't get funding advances from Marion County, something 15 of the county's 21 charter schools needed last year. At least one school-Irvington Community Academy-has received help from the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in getting an emergency bridge loan of...
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Commentary: Israel through the eyes of a visitorRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Mickey Maurer
My wife, Janie, and I made some new friends on our recent trip to Israel, including Moira Carlstedt, president of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership. I happily cede my space this week for her observations of the trip. It is like any hospital room in Indianapolis-except you can see the Lebanese border from the window, and you stand amid damage from a Hezbollah rocket that tore through that window. And then you understand the need for the underground hospital that...
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Zoo counting on koala appeal: Visit by cuddly creatures expected to draw big crowdRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Scott Olson
Stock up on the eucalyptus leaves. Cute, cuddly koalas will soon be coming to the Indianapolis Zoo. The temporary exhibit will run from Memorial Day weekend through Sept. 1 and feature two of the slow-moving marsupials on loan from the San Diego Zoo. Not since 1994 have koalas been in Indianapolis. The lengthy time lapse, coupled with the zoo's objective to introduce a new major exhibit every year-whether temporary or permanent-made the native Australian animals a logical choice. "We're using...
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EYE ON THE PIE: It's the money, not the jobs, stupidRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Morton Marcus
"It's jobs, jobs, jobs," presidential and gubernatorial candidates shouted last week in Indiana. And the crowds responded in the affirmative, urging the candidates to promise more jobs for more Hoosiers. OK; jobs are good, but well-paying jobs are better. Since the 1980s, the state has claimed it is interested only in jobs that pay above the average for the area in which they are located. When challenged by the fact that the jobs being acclaimed do not always meet that...
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VIEWPOINT: 'Buy local' should be rallying cryRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Brian Sullivan
In recent months, our governor and mayors across the state proudly have announced business developments and out-of-state companies' plans to expand or relocate in Indiana. They've worked overtime to earn these economic boosts, and they're to be congrat ulated for helping bolster the state and local economy. But we're ignoring a simple strategy that could yield many more high-paying jobs: Buy local. Here's the irony: Pursuing this strategy doesn't have to cost a dime. No recruiting trips to China, no...
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A&E: Local duo creates sticker shock

April 7, 2008
Lou Harry
Anyone with young kids knows the value of a sticker. Whether a reward for a hissy-fit-free afternoon or a gift from a friendly grocery bagger, a sticker is a deceptively simple object that brings a surprising amount of pleasure. I'll admit, I didn't give stickers a whole lot of thought until I wandered into Alias, the unique Fountain Square gallery created by Dave and Holly Combs. The couple has been obsessed with stickers since spotting-and pondering the implications of-an "Andre...
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Property-tax reform may force cutbacks in urban school districtsRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Many Indiana school districts say they have no choice but to brace for cutbacks in areas like school repairs, computers and transportation thanks to the property tax reform measure approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov.Mitch Daniels.
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