Indiana INTERNnet to Host Three Summer Networking Events for Interns, Mentors

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Roche Diagnostics interns enjoy a day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet will host a series of intern networking events this summer to encourage community engagement.

Interns from organizations throughout Central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis Zoo (July 14) and Indiana State Fair (August 5). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues.

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.) with professional development. Following the programming, attendees will be free to explore the museum at their leisure until it closes at 5 p.m. An optional lunch will be served around noon.
  • The Indianapolis Zoo event will take place from approximately 1-5 p.m. Following professional development programming and zoo experiences, attendees will be invited to enjoy the Animals and All That Jazz concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity where Pete the Planner will speak to attendees. Interns will be invited to enjoy the fair at their leisure and participate in an optional social media contest administered by Indiana INTERNnet. The contest will conclude in the early afternoon. Fair bucks will be provided for each attendee to be used at food vendors throughout the fair.

In 2015, nearly 200 interns participated in Indiana INTERNnet events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indiana State Fair.

A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for them to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Capacity is limited and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 1 for The Children’s Museum, July 1 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 15 for the Indiana State Fair. Contact Katie Coffin to RSVP at [email protected] or (317) 264-7535.

Regional Coordinator Helps Build Intern Relationships in Central Indiana

Chelsea-DuKate-graphicIn 2015, Indiana INTERNnet launched regional initiatives to increase the number of experiential learning opportunities available to Indiana students. Chelsea DuKate, founder and president of Red Envelope Consulting, is working with employers in Central Indiana at every stage of internship management from development to recruiting to evaluation.

Indiana INTERNnet: Why are internships more important than ever for employers?

Chelsea DuKate: Besides the general benefits of enhanced productivity and gaining a potential new diverse perspective, employers also have an opportunity to better engage with the early career community. Internship programs can serve as a ‘selection method’ of sorts for full-time positions within their organization.

Studies have shown that interns hired full-time tend to be more loyal to that organization, which directly impacts labor and turnover costs. Other benefits include the company marketing that goes along with having interns and the increased name recognition and employment branding opportunities.

IIN: How are you helping Indianapolis area employers connect with the best and brightest talent for their internship programs?

DuKate: Red Envelope Consulting has partnered with the Indy Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet to connect with local employers in Marion and surrounding counties and help with identifying student opportunities within their organizations. I am working with employers on how to attract early career talent and, most importantly, how to manage both the program and the student employees.

IIN: What can Indiana INTERNnet do for employers?

DuKate: Indiana INTERNnet hosts a web-based platform to connect employers with internship-seeking individuals. Employers can post unlimited internship opportunities at www.IndianaINTERN.net, review the extensive database of student resumes in numerous fields, and apply for EARN Indiana reimbursement.

Indiana INTERNnet also provides several resources for employers to develop or improve their internship programs, including Intern Today Employee Tomorrow: The Indiana Employer’s Guide to Internships.

IIN: How should employers get started?

DuKate: Employers interested in discussing options related to building or enhancing their internship programs can contact Red Envelope Consulting by visiting www.redenvelope.consulting/contact or emailing directly at [email protected]

NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog

Focusing in on Student Engagement and Hope

tCareer readiness preparation begins long before a student makes it to college and begins pursuing internships to explore strengths and interests. It even begins before high school, when students are making postsecondary decisions.

Career readiness largely hinges on success students experience when they are much younger – even back to fifth grade!

The Gallup Student Poll (Fall 2015) measures four dimensions of student success – engagement, hope, entrepreneurial aspiration and career/financial literacy – and analyzes how those impact student behavior. The poll is administered to U.S. students, grades 5 – 12.

For example, students who are “engaged” and “hopeful” are 4.6 times more likely to say they do well in school than “actively disengaged” and “discouraged” students.

The aim of the Gallup Student Poll is to enable superintendents, principals and educators to take direct action based on the results to provide a more robust educational experience. This early action is critical in preparing students for college and the workforce.

One of the most interesting pieces of data from the poll relates to entrepreneurial aspirations. A staggering 42% of respondents indicate they plan to start their own business. However, these aspirations dwindle as students get older, especially for females, indicating that entrepreneurial aspirations should be identified and supported in middle school.

Of the respondents, 50% were “engaged,” 29% were not engaged and 21% were actively disengaged, meaning they are totally disconnected from the learning environment.

The data finds that engagement is different across the age groups. As you go up by grade, engagement goes down. For example, 75% of fifth graders are engaged at school, while 33% of 10th graders are engaged at school.

This suggests students are not getting the needed mentorship as they go through school and are not receiving praise and recognition.

  • 48% of students are hopeful
  • 34% of students are stuck
  • 18% of students are discouraged

When students know what they do best and have opportunities to develop their strengths, they are more motivated and enthusiastic about learning and are more likely to be engaged at school. High engagement in primary and secondary school, especially a focus on “hope” (defined as ideas and energy students have for the future), can only improve postsecondary and career outcomes.

Internship Gets IUPUI Senior International Experience in Dentistry

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Nicole Quint is a senior at IUPUI studying chemistry. She plans to apply to dental school this summer. This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog.

quint pic tallIndiana INTERNnet: How did your mission trip to Panama solidify your interest in becoming a dentist?

Nicole Quint: When I went to Panama last August, I was able to see how challenging and rewarding the profession of dentistry can be. Not only did I recognize the joy in the eyes of community members after they had their painful teeth removed, but I was able to see the strong impact a dentist has on the community. People may think that dentistry is a silly profession, but when you have witnessed a person that is completely malnourished because their teeth are giving them so much pain they are unable to eat, it is thought otherwise. I have seen the good, bad and ugly side of dentistry, and I still can’t wait to enter dental school and become a strong leader in the community.

IIN: What has your research focused on in the IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship?

NQ: My research consisted of analyzing oral bacterial that are known to create cavities called Streptococcus mutans. I treated the bacteria with various dilutions of nicotine and then analyzed the results. The hypothesis of my research was: those who smoke increase their chance of containing a higher amount of oral bacteria, causing an increase in the amount of cavities and leaving the patient with a higher chance of the serious heart disease known as atherosclerosis. All because oral bacteria have the opportunity to thrive in nicotine, then make their way into the blood system, and bind to the walls of arteries potentially reducing blood flow to the heart. Overall my research has taught me that it is just as important to have good oral hygiene as it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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IIN: You frequently presented your work, even at IUPUI Research Day and at the annual meeting of the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. How were those experiences?

NQ: While presenting my research at both events, I had multiple people come up to me who were interested in my research. I was able to share with them the importance of good oral hygiene. It was my first time ever presenting my research when I attended the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiology annual research conference, so I was quite nervous. However, I was able to prove to myself that I was confident in my work by proudly presenting my research again at the IUPUI Research Day.

IIN: You’ve completed more than 100 hours of community service during your undergrad at IUPUI. Why is community service so important to you?

NQ: One of the main reasons I like to donate my time is because it has such a strong value to the community. I also find joy in seeing what an impact I have made around the community. For example, when I volunteered with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, I spent five hours one day cleaning up the streets. I had a lady come up that thanked me because she no longer had to worry about her children cutting their hands on broken glass that was in the streets. It’s small moments like that one that encourage me to continue to volunteer.

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Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

Pie Time: This Wick Still Burns Bright

Slice of Sugar Cream PieMike Wickersham is the president of Wick’s Pies in Winchester, Ind., a third generation family company. Wick’s Pies dates back to 1944 when Wickersham’s father, Duane (nicknamed “Wick”), opened a restaurant and began making pies. I visited Mrs. Wick’s Pie Shop, the restaurant across the street from the production facility, for a tourism story in the January-February issue of BizVoice magazine.

Indiana Chamber: The sugar cream pie is delicious! I understand it is a patented recipe?

Mike Wickersham: Bluebird Pie Company out of Dayton, Ohio, which was one of his large competitors, knew the popularity of his sugar cream pie and was trying to steal the recipe. So my dad decided it would be a good idea to get a patent on that, so he hired a local attorney and received a patent in July of 1962. He was concerned about losing that niche market that my dad had, because Bluebird was a lot larger than he was.

IC: Sugar cream pie was declared the state pie of Indiana in 2009. How has that designation impacted your business?

MW: It’s brought a lot of familiarity to the product. That spring, we sold three times as many sugar cream pies as we had in any previous spring. We had a lot of interest from Illinois – if you’ll remember, they were trying to impeach their governor (Rod Blagojevich) at the same time. So I had radio stations call me from Illinois wanting to compare what their legislature was doing with our legislature. When you’ve got people talking about your product, it adds to the mystique and popularity and generally increases sales.

IC: What other products do you offer?

MW: In the Midwest, Wick’s brand is known for sugar cream pie and pecan pie, but throughout the country, we’re really known more for our pie shells. We ship pie shells into about 40 states around the country. We make pie shells as small as 3” and up to 10”.

IC: Is there anything new on the horizon?

MW: We’re in the process of establishing an e-commerce shopping site. We do a lot of mail order, and right now, a customer is required to buy at least six pies at a time and have them shipped overnight. That becomes rather expensive. We’re developing a website that would be an online shop for the consumer to buy as few as one and as many as six (pies), and it could be a variety of product, with an option of a second-day air.

Wick’s Pies by the numbers:

  • Oven holds 1,500 pies at one time
  • 55,000 pounds of flour used per week on average
  • 450,000 cubic feet of freezer space
  • Capacity to run 60,000 units (pies and pie shells) per day

Read the full article.

Internships Increasingly Important in Post-Graduation Job Search

bA new report from Grace College found that unemployment has fallen about 7% for 20- to 24-year-olds. There are many reasons for upcoming college graduates to be optimistic about their job searches, but there are also noteworthy trends that should keep expectations in check and even inspire extra effort. Internships and other work-and-learn opportunities continue to be a step toward work readiness and, in many cases, job offers.

The Class of 2015 has planned ahead for the future. According to Dan Kadlec of Time, 82% of current seniors considered the availability of jobs in their field before choosing a major – a 7% increase from 2014. The Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study backs this up: 63% of 2015 grads were encouraged to pursue a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), compared to 52% of grads from 2013 and 2014. Jobs in STEM fields are often high-wage and high-demand, and STEM was the most popular major this year.

However, current job market realities are not all inviting for recent grads. Accenture found that 85% of the Class of 2015 expects to earn more than $25,000 per year out of the gate. But right now, 41% of the Classes of 2013 and 2014 earns $25,000 or less per year and nearly half of that group considers themselves underemployed.

Despite these trends, internships are one of the greatest reasons the Class of 2015 should feel confident as they begin their careers. Along with online and offline networking opportunities, internships can help graduates maximize their chances of landing a job. According to Accenture, 72% of current seniors participated in an internship during college. The reason for optimism? Nearly half of prior-year graduates found a job as a result of an internship, apprenticeship or co-op.

Internships have become less of a “bonus” on young professionals’ résumés and more of a necessity. Real-world work experience coupled with network building make experiential learning opportunities critical for students. That’s why it is so important for Indiana employers to offer structured, experiential opportunities and strong mentorship for tomorrow’s workforce.

Indiana INTERNnet exists to help increase the number and quality of internships throughout the state and connect employers with prospective interns. With all the statistics in mind, this work is key not only for each individual’s professional growth, but for strengthening Indiana’s future workforce, business climate and economy.

Check out this small sampling of stories about internships that led to full-time jobs on Indiana INTERNnet’s blog: Paige Prather; Lucas Hill; Chris Jones; Casey Spivey, and yours truly

Indiana INTERNnet is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent. The online resource, www.IndianaINTERN.net, provides valuable information and tools to assist Indiana employers with their internship programs. Its searchable database links employers with thousands of individuals seeking internships. Register for your free account, post your internships and begin connecting with potential candidates today.

Stephanie Arne: A Global Perspective on Wellness

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Stephanie Arne is the first-ever female host of the iconic show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” She will be the opening presenter at the 2015 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit (October 7-8) discussing the connection between human health and planetary health.

Indiana Chamber: The definition of “wellness” can be pretty broad. What is your fresh perspective on what wellness truly is, and what does that mean for the average person?

Stephanie Arne: “Wellness” means achieving “a state of healthy balance.” When you eat nourishing food, get appropriate levels of exercise, avoid stress triggers and take proper personal time for emotional well-being – each of these actions moves the body into greater states of balance.

The part I think has been missing from the “wellness” concept up to this point has been how much these things are truly connected to each other, and furthermore, how much these things are connected to that which is external to us – specifically, our environment.

We have, so far, missed the bigger picture – to see our global interconnectedness, and how this translates to personal health. For all of us, this means opening up to the tremendous opportunities afforded by taking a global perspective to ones’ health, which I look forward to discussing further at the Health and Wellness Summit in October.

IC: What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation specifically and the summit as a whole?

SA: I hope attendees will walk away feeling uplifted and empowered to effect change, whatever that may mean for them personally. One person may feel empowered to reduce the amount of processed foods they consume, which ultimately benefits their own health, but also has a global impact by reducing the demand for chemically-made, environmentally-polluting products. Another person may feel empowered to start a community garden where they can share fresh, organic produce with their neighbors, creating a space for simultaneous recreation and community connection, as well as a place to obtain healthy food. Either way, both people will be making immediate changes that will result in long-term benefits.

IC: Why should every company/organization take an active role in promoting healthy lifestyles and engaging employees in wellness strategies?

SA: Companies have a lot of power – both within AND outside of the corporation.

Within the corporation, they decide what the corporate culture will be. Outside, they decide what ideals to support through their channel partners and resource suppliers.

At this point, we have seen the statistics proving that a healthy employee is a happy employee, and that healthy/happy employees are more productive. Companies know unequivocally that to invest in the health of their employees by supporting corporate wellness initiatives is the surest way to guarantee the highest levels of productivity, and therefore profitability, of the employee investment.

In my opinion, the other major way to retain a competitive edge is by providing services in an increasingly sustainable manner. Consumers are still consuming, but they are looking for ever-increasing ways to do so with less waste and less pollution. If your company is operating from a perspective of total wellness and health, then it will be doing so with a global perspective. This is where the true change, inspiration, progress and reward come into play.

Get more information or register for the 2015 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit online.

Indiana INTERNnet’s IMPACT Awards Celebrates 10th Anniversary

impactThe tenth time’s a charm!

Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide organization focusing on talent retention through increased work-and-learn experiences, began the tradition of celebrating internship excellence nearly a decade ago by launching the annual IMPACT Awards program. (This year’s event will be on February 3, and you can register online.)

Three winners were honored the first year: Intern of the Year Julie Ann Lesniak, Career Development Professional of the Year Libby Davis of the University of Indianapolis, and Employer of the Year Tucker Publishing Group in Evansville.

Today, the IMPACT Awards is an annual luncheon honoring Interns of the Year in the high school, college and non-traditional categories, Employers of the Year in the for-profit and not-for-profit categories and a Career Development Professional of the Year. Indiana INTERNnet will honor its tenth group of award nominees and winners in 2016. Co-founder and CMO Angie Hicks of Angie’s List will be the keynote speaker.

All honorees come from nominations submitted by the public, and winners are chosen by a panel of impartial judges. Use the online form to submit your nomination(s) in any or all of the categories by October 23.

That first group of honorees set the standard for years of inspiring stories of accomplishment by interns and on behalf of interns. Here is a sampling of some of the great work of Hoosier colleges/universities, interns and employers:

From 2012: In more than 20 years at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Susan Gresham has proven to be a “high-energy, positive-thinking, driven and motivated leader.” As director of the Career Development Center (CDC), she leads a staff that thrives on student success. Among the initiatives led by Gresham:

  • A learning contract completed by both the student and intern employer
  • Site visits to every internship location within the state with site supervisors, through an evaluation, assigning a letter grade that accounts for 40% of the intern’s grade
  • Actively recruiting employers to campus for class presentations, panel discussions and special events
  • Establishment of an orientation program, providing interns with a name badge, business cards and leather portfolio to ease their transition into the business world

From 2013: One measuring stick of internship success is whether or not the opportunity leads to permanent employment. After serving as the 2012 governor’s public service summer intern, Casey Spivey began working as a full-time benefits specialist at the Indiana State Personnel Department (SPD). Today, she is the facility human resources director.

Spivey made an impact by assisting in the development of sourcing and recruitment plans for “hard-to-fill” positions. One organization she aided was the Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy (HYCA). She equipped the academy with a career fair plan – including advertising contacts, a detailed timeline, session speakers, newspaper ads and flyers.

“Casey basically went through a 12-week job interview with our organization with outstanding results,” states Nicole Russell, division director of talent acquisition for the Indiana SPD. “To go from student to governor’s intern to state employee is a feat to be acknowledged.”

From 2015: “2014 has been a year of excellence for our internship program,” says Valerie Wilson, chief of staff, Baldwin & Lyons (B+L). And it’s easy to see why.

  • 96% of interns reported their job responsibilities were challenging but attainable
  • 63% of interns with at least junior standing were converted to either full-time or part-time employment or another internship
  • 100% of interns expressed interest in working for B+L upon graduation

The employer-intern connection doesn’t end with the internship at B+L. This fall, employees assembled care packages with encouraging notes to send their former interns during final exams. Staff also makes an effort to visit when they are on college campuses for career fairs.

View the list of past winners online.

Q & A: A Healthier Vending Evolution

domination concepts with apples

John Whitlock is Project Analyst with Compass Group North America, though he is informally referred to as “Avenue C Champion.” Avenue C is a micro-market concept, where beverages, snacks and even meals are available in an open kiosk rather than a traditional vending machine. Whitlock operates out of Lafayette and covers mid-central Indiana. (Read the full story in BizVoice.)

Indiana Chamber: Has there been a recent evolution in the vending industry with more focus on the health-conscious consumer?

Whitlock: With the health regulations coming in for grade school children, when this generation grows up, they’re not going to be looking for the Mt. Dew and Snickers bar. The younger generation is already starting to snack healthier. We also handle university settings and without making any real effort, the healthier options sell much better on campuses.

One of the misconceptions is that the vending industry has been reluctant to go to the healthier options, and it’s really not the case. It’s market-driven. While the number of people who want baked Cheetos has increased significantly, that number still doesn’t compare to the demand for regular Cheetos.

IC: What are the hurdles for offering fresher, healthier options, like fruit and sandwiches?

JW: We’ve found that people tend to shy away from fresh food out of a vending machine. If you have a vending machine with an apple in it, people are reluctant to buy that apple because they can’t look at it and touch it. The Avenue C concept addresses that issue.

Avenue C is expanding very quickly. It is the most current thing in vending. In the past eight months, we have had just shy of 100% growth. The projection between now and the end of our fiscal year, which is October 1, we’ll be close to an additional 50% growth on top of what we already had.

IC: What vending innovations are on the horizon?

JW: Smartphone technology. We’re in the process of implementing it here in this area. We’ve had our pilot programs already start. We’re adding QR barcodes to the vending machines. With a smartphone you can scan the barcode and then gain nutritional information through an app on your phone.