Central Indiana Corporate Partnership unveils new initiative brand, announces focus and $7 million in funding

INDIANAPOLIS (October 25, 2016) ─ The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) is unveiling the new brand, focus and fundraising efforts for its regional workforce development initiative. Ascend Indiana, CICP’s sixth initiative, is a cross-sector, industry-led organization that collaborates with corporate, education, and community partners to identify and address challenges within the talent pipeline.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided a grant of $5 million to the CICP Foundation to support the first three years of Ascend’s operations. Additional funding and grants totaling nearly $2 million have been received from organizations including the Joyce Foundation, Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), USA Funds, Lumina Foundation, Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation, Central Indiana Community Foundation, and the Glick Family Foundation.

“The advanced industries, such as life sciences, technology and advanced manufacturing, account for more than 96,000 jobs in Indianapolis,” David Johnson, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, said. “These are typically jobs that require some type of STEM-related skill or credential, pay well above the regional norm, and make an impressive contribution to productivity in our 21st-century economy. As such, they represent some of our best opportunities to promote innovation and economic growth, and we need to be able to meet the rising need for these jobs with tailored and practical strategies. Ascend’s work will help connect our skilled talent with employers’ needs,” he added.

“For many years, Lilly Endowment has supported multifaceted efforts to help Indiana colleges and universities and other educational organizations prepare Indiana students better for meaningful careers in Indiana,” Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education, said. “Ascend Indiana’s programs to align employers’ needs with workers’ skills and qualifications will complement and further these efforts.”

Ascend Indiana’s research shows that the current supply of skilled talent and employer demand in Central Indiana are misaligned, with demand outstripping supply.1 Within five years, an estimated 62 percent of workers will require some form of post-secondary credential.2 However, only 42 percent of the population in Central Indiana has attained an adequate level of education, highlighting a gap of 215,000 adults.3

Graph depicting employer led efforts to directly influence the pipeline

Ascend Indiana has spent the past year conducting in-depth research and engaging key stakeholders to understand the workforce landscape in Central Indiana. As a result, it has outlined four areas of focus: engage employers, identify and connect talent, build talent pipelines and inform public policy. Ascend is CICP’s first cross-sector initiative that is addressing Indiana’s crucial employment needs.

“Ascend Indiana has a coordinated approach with academia (higher education and training programs), employers and talent to develop the pipelines that fuel Central Indiana’s economy,” Jason Kloth, president and CEO of Ascend Indiana, said.

The initiative will also work with related efforts by State government and key regional organizations, including the Indy Chamber, United Way of Central Indiana, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and EmployIndy. This will ensure a continuum of educational and training opportunities for the support of a variety of sectors and skill levels.

“Our city’s long-term success is dependent on building a talented workforce prepared for the demands of our innovative and changing economy. Ascend Indiana is uniquely positioned to work with key stakeholders and develop mid- to high- skilled workers, while EmployIndy will focus on low-to mid-skilled workers as we position all of our residents for meaningful careers,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, said.

“To meet workforce demands, employers must actively partner with education institutions and credential-granting organizations to develop innovative programs that prepare the next generation of employees,” Joyce Irwin, president and CEO, Community Health Network Foundation (EmployIndy Board Chair and Ascend Indiana Executive Committee), said. “Ascend Indiana has the strategic vision and collaborative expertise necessary to come alongside Central Indiana employers and help them build successful pipelines for qualified talent.”

Another crucial partnership for Ascend is with education providers, including career and technical education institutions, higher education, and community-based organizations, to align training to high-demand careers and support students’ job search process.

“Department of Workforce Development leadership and staff are eager to partner with Ascend Indiana to ensure Hoosiers have the skills and competencies to meet employer workforce demand now and into the future,” DWD Commissioner Steve Braun, said. “Ascend’s collaborative efforts to build innovative solutions will help close labor market gaps and prepare Hoosiers for the one million jobs projected to become available over the next decade.”

About Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP)

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) was formed in 1999 to bring together the chief executives of Central Indiana’s prominent corporations, foundations and universities in a strategic and collaborative effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. To advance this mission, CICP sponsors six key economic development initiatives, AgriNovus Indiana, Ascend Indiana, BioCrossroads, Conexus Indiana, Energy Systems Network and TechPoint, each of which addresses challenges and opportunities unique to its respective area: agriculture innovation, workforce development, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, energy technology and information technology. CICP is also spearheading the development of the 16 Tech innovation community in downtown Indianapolis. To learn more about CICP, visit www.cicpindiana.com.

About Ascend Indiana

Ascend Indiana seeks to ensure every Indiana employer has access to the skilled workforce necessary to thrive, and every Indiana citizen has the opportunity to pursue a meaningful career. Ascend is a catalyst across industry sectors to help connect the supply of skilled talent to demand from employers through scalable programs and innovative solutions. To learn more visit, www.ascendindiana.com.

1 Central Indiana is defined as the following counties: Boone, Brown, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Putnam, and Shelby counties.

2 Carnevale, A., Rose, S. & Hanson, A. (2012). Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce. Retrieved from http://cew.georgetown.edu/cert.... Post-secondary credentials include certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s degrees or higher.

3 Explanation of gap calculation: There are 1.2 M working age adults, aged 18 – 64, in Central Indiana. A goal of 60 percent post-secondary educational attainment means we need 720,000 post-secondary educated workers. 700,000 (57.9%) of Central Indiana’s working age population do not have post-secondary credentials. 505,000 (42.1%) of Central Indiana’s workers have at least a Bachelor’s degree (29.4%), an Associate’s degree (8%), or certificate (5%). This leaves a gap of nearly 215,000 workers (17.9%) of total working age population that need to attain post-secondary credentials to achieve the state’s 60% goal.