IU, Lilly roll out co-op partnership to address Indiana’s workforce shortage

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The IU Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis (Indiana University photo)

In the face of Indiana’s ongoing workforce shortage, drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. is teaming up with Indiana University to launch a new co-op partnership with the aim of beefing up the state’s talent pipeline.

The two institutions announced the collaboration Thursday morning and said enrollment in the first round will begin later this year.

The partnership will connect undergraduate students and degree programs from the IU Indianapolis campus with opportunities at Lilly, such as finance, human resources and information technology.

IU students participating in the program will work a semester or more at Lilly for academic credit. In some cases, Lilly—or other industry partners—may invite students for summer internships before the co-op semester.

“With Lilly and other key partners, we’re creating opportunity for students while meeting the needs of some of our city’s and region’s largest and most impactful employers,” IU President Pamela Whitten said in written remarks.

The new partnership aims to enhance career opportunities for students and serve as a bridge between academic learning and real-world industry experience, according to the announcement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rates Indiana’s worker shortage as “severe,” with just 72 workers available for every 100 openings, lower than all surrounding states except Ohio, which has 62 workers available for every 100 openings.

The IU-Lilly collaboration will initially be available to students in IU’s Kelley School of Business Indianapolis; the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering; and the School of Health & Human Sciences in Indianapolis, beginning this fall.

In addition, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and 16 Tech Innovation District will join IU and Lilly through member events, team building, experiential learning volunteer opportunities and more.

Lilly said its participation in the partnership is an investment in student education and development. “People are at the center of how we innovate to deliver high-quality medicines,” Julie Dunlap, Lilly’s chief diversity officer and senior vice president of talent, said in written remarks.

The collaboration announcement comes just a few weeks after more than 100 Hoosier leaders, including business executives, university presidents, school superintendents and state government officials, formed a coalition to support a statewide modern youth apprenticeship program. The group recently kicked off a 10-month implementation lab, known as an iLab, with the goal of increasing the number of youth apprenticeships in Indiana.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has made workforce development a staple of his 2024 agenda by launching “One Stop to Start,” a statewide workforce development campaign, with the goal of connecting Hoosiers with existing workforce- and job-related training programs and resources.

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3 thoughts on “IU, Lilly roll out co-op partnership to address Indiana’s workforce shortage

  1. Great seeing the quick action and long term thinking as a result of the IU PUI split. Excited to see other corporate partnerships and investments in workforce development in the Indianapolis area.

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