seal  Purdue News

April 9, 2004

Purdue launches economic development program to stem brain drain

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University officials will visit four Indiana locations on April 23-30 to explain its plan to use a $3.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help the state retain more university graduates and foster high-tech startups.

The West Lafayette kickoff for the program, called Opportunity for Indiana, will take place from 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, in the large conference room of the Purdue Technology Center, 3000 Kent Ave. Area companies have been invited to learn how to request Purdue student interns, participate in business plan competitions and gain access to networking opportunities with regional personnel and Purdue staff.

Don Gentry, vice provost for engagement, said the grant enables Purdue to continue to make a direct economic impact in the state.

"Purdue is committed to using its resources to improve the lives of Indiana residents by attracting and growing high-tech businesses that offer good paying jobs," Gentry said. "Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment, this program provides several tangible means through which we can accomplish that goal."

Additional regional kick-off dates, times and locations include:

• Friday, April 23, 1:30 p.m. Purdue North Central, Library Student-Faculty Building, Room 2 (Assembly Hall).

• Monday, April 26, 1:30 p.m., Purdue Calumet, The Center.

• Friday, April 30, 1:30 p.m., Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Neff Recital Hall.

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

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

• support entrepreneurship training workshops;

• provide statewide access to Purdue's entrepreneurial support programs;

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

• subsidize teams of interns; and

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

Lilly Endowment Inc. will provide grant funding through 2006.

The Opportunity for Indiana Program was created to stem the state's "brain drain" by increasing the number of high-tech career opportunities. According to 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.

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. Purdue will share high-tech job creation strategies with other state institutions of higher learning.

All Purdue campuses are involved in implementing the new program. In West Lafayette, areas involved include the Office of the Provost, the Discovery Learning Center, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Career Opportunities, the Office of Enrollment Management and the Office of Engagement.

Writer: Marydell Forbes (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Don Gentry, (765) 494-9095,

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

Carol Connelly, Purdue North Central director of media and communication services, (219) 785-5267,

Wes Lukoshus, Purdue-Calumet assistant vice chancellor for university relations, (219) 989-2217,

Susan Alderman, IPFW communications specialist, (260) 481 6165,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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