Independent Colleges of Indiana and Ascend Indiana form strategic alliance to prepare Indiana college students and employers for the state’s changing workforce demands

INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 2019) ─ Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), the state’s association of 30 private non-profit colleges and universities, and Ascend Indiana are announcing the formation of a strategic alliance that will enhance connections between students and employers in order to meet the changing demands in the Indiana labor market.

Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), will work with ICI member institutions to guide students through their internship and job search process, while helping them understand how their skills align with the opportunities available at employers across the state.

ICI and Ascend have agreed to:

  • Assist students in navigating the Indiana labor market through the Ascend Network, a one-of-a-kind online talent platform that combines technology and personalized guidance to support students through their internship or job search. Support from the Ascend Network will extend the work of career services to connect students with hundreds of employers throughout the state.
  • Partner with higher education and employers to develop custom talent pipelines for in-demand careers that meet the needs of job seekers. This will include participation in programs such as the Roche Academy, a recently launched partnership between the University of Indianapolis, an ICI member school, and Roche Diagnostics. UIndy biology and chemistry students now have the opportunity to complete a customized curriculum and summer internship experience focused on hands-on life science and engineering skills, ultimately leading them to a post-graduation job offer at Roche as a biomedical equipment technician.
  • Gather and share information on Indiana’s evolving labor market, including supply and demand of talent.

“Central to building a qualified workforce is preparing students with the critical thinking ability and communication skills necessary to thrive in today’s economy,” Dr. David Wantz, president and CEO of Independent Colleges of Indiana, said. “The alliance between ICI and Ascend will enable more employers to benefit from the students being prepared with these skills and abilities by independent colleges statewide.”

“ICI institutions produce one-third of bachelor’s degrees in Indiana,” Jason Kloth, president and CEO of Ascend Indiana, said. “These are students who demonstrate both the knowledge and technical skills that employers are seeking in a 21st century workforce. Creating greater connectivity between these highly qualified students and employers is essential to closing some of the employment gaps that exist in the labor market.”

ICI colleges and universities, which serve nearly 100,000 students, are committed to developing collaborations with businesses, non-profits and state agencies in Indiana to ensure they are offering the most relevant academic programs possible for all students and that meet the needs of the Indiana workforce.

About Independent Colleges of Indiana

Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 30 private, non-profit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ nearly 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates. ICI students receive less than 4 percent of the state’s higher education budget, yet ICI intuitions produce nearly 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees. More information about ICI is available at

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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,