seal  Purdue News

December 9, 2003

Purdue to use grant money to stem Indiana 'brain drain'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue will use a $3.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help Indiana retain more university graduates and foster high-tech startup companies throughout the state.

Martin C. Jischke

The initiative, Purdue's Opportunity for Indiana Program, is administered through Purdue's Office of Engagement. Its primary goals are to:

• provide Purdue students with internships at high-tech Indiana companies,

• subsidize teams of interns,

• increase the number of startup companies through business planning competitions,

• provide grants for startup companies,

• support entrepreneurship training workshops,

• provide statewide access to Purdue's entrepreneurial support programs, and

• assist Indiana communities in recruiting startup companies to their regions through regular meetings and the Purdue Connections Fair, which links entrepreneurs with community leaders.

The grant funding will be provided for three years, beginning in 2004. Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said the grant will enable Purdue to continue to make a direct economic impact in Indiana.

"We are pleased the Lilly Endowment has selected Purdue as one of its grant recipients," Jischke said. "Indiana's institutions of higher education have a long track record of providing talented, bright and well-educated graduates ready to make their mark in the world. Our challenge, which Purdue's Opportunity for Indiana Program seeks to address, is to help create a business environment that gives these graduates a chance to make their mark right here in Indiana."

Purdue's Opportunity for Indiana Program was created to stem the 'brain drain' by increasing the supply of high-tech career opportunities. According a 1999 study administered by the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute's Human Capital Retention Project, Indiana colleges and universities attract 2.21 students for every Indiana high school student who enrolls out of state, which ranks Indiana sixth among states in recruitment. Yet Indiana ranks among the lowest in the nation in the retention and employment of Indiana college graduates, nearly 30 percent below the national average.

"Indiana is producing larger numbers of talented graduates than many states, but the 'brain drain' has less to do with the supply of graduates than the supply of good jobs," Jischke said. "Growing new startup companies right here in Indiana offers the greatest opportunity for the state to generate highly competitive, high-tech, innovation-oriented endeavors."

Secondary objectives of Purdue's program include fostering more partnerships among startup companies, community business development leaders, venture capitalists and Purdue. Purdue also will use new educational tools to help entrepreneurs and business development professionals better understand the high-tech labor market. High-tech job creation strategies will be shared with other institutions of higher learning.

Several offices at Purdue, in addition to the university's regional campuses, will be instrumental in implementing the new program, including: the Office of the Provost, the Discovery Learning Center, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Career Opportunities and the Office of Enrollment Management.

Purdue is one of 37 colleges and universities awarded a total of $38.9 million in grants from Lilly Endowment's Initiative to Promote Opportunity Through Educational Collaborations.

"We are most pleased with the imagination and creativity demonstrated by Indiana colleges and universities in their proposals for this initiative," said Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment vice president for education. "Dozens of new relationships with alumni and others have been developed that will offer numerous internships and other experiential education opportunities for Indiana students."

Grant amounts were based on the total number of students at each institution.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Gretchen Wolfram, Lilly Endowment Inc. communications director, (317) 916-7304,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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