Purdue University President Mitch Daniels is preparing to scale up an initiative aimed at luring Purdue graduates back to Indiana by expanding it to other universities in the state and enlisting the support of hundreds of corporate partners.
Daniels announced the expansion of the Purdue Brain Gain Initiative at an Indiana Chamber of Commerce event on Tuesday, the same day Amazon announced it would split its highly anticipated HQ2 between New York and the Washington D.C. area. Amazon chose the talent-rich cities over 18 other contenders, including Indianapolis, largely because of the pipeline of human capital that both provide.
Daniels' involvement in retaining and attracting talent to Indiana dates back to his two terms as governor, beginning in 2005.
“Fifteen years ago, many of us adopted as our central goal, the reversal of the state’s brain drain,” Daniels said. “Since that time, Indiana’s population has begun outgrowing our neighbors, including a net in-migration of college graduates, but it’s not nearly enough. This initiative, if we do it right, will be the next great step in strengthening our Indiana community and economy.”
The Purdue initiative, which has been in pilot mode, has so far drawn a response from more than 220 people interested in finding jobs in the state, according to Purdue. Daniels said serious conversations are happening “with a number of expatriate Boilermakers, including scientists, a legal counsel, a marketing executive and a research physician, for next steps in presenting high-priority candidates to partner companies.”
Daniels last week sent a letter to 278 Indiana companies asking them to join the program. He also wants to get other Indiana universities involved and recruit more companies to join the effort.
Purdue is working with TMap on the initiative. TMap is former Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle’s new initiative focusing on recruiting people to Indiana.
Earlier this year, Daniels and Oesterle headlined an event called the Indiana Brain Gain Talent Summit that brought together 250 students from 17 Indiana colleges and universities asking them to stay in the state after graduating.
Event organizers said at the time that Indiana ranks 16th in the United States for number of college degrees produced, but 40th in the number of residents with a college degree.
A 2014 report from the Indiana Business Research Center found 66 percent of graduates from Indiana public colleges remained and were working in Indiana one year after graduation. Five years after graduation, only 55 percent of graduates were working in the state.