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INDIANAPOLIS (February 18, 2015) – Indiana ranks 41st in the nation when it comes to students earning a diploma within six years of graduating high school. That gap has left tens of thousands of Hoosier jobs unfilled because there aren’t enough qualified people applying.

The employers say they’re struggling to find quality workers close to home.

Delaney Wolfe is a sophomore at Butler University and says she wants to stay.

“For a while in high school I was like, I can’t wait to get out,” said Wolfe. “But I’ve really learned to appreciate the city, and there’s a lot, I think, Indiana has to offer. I think a lot of people who aren’t from here are really surprised at what a cool city Indianapolis is. So I think a lot of people would like to stay here.”

There are a couple programs at Butler designed to show students all the city has to offer and help connect them with internships and jobs in the state.

“Many of them like to stay if they find the right job,” said Gary Beaulieu, Director of Internship and Career Services at Butler University. “And I think anything we can do to help them connect with great people, great employers here in the city or in the state of Indiana, the better off we’re going to be.”

“What happens a lot of times is students learn a little bit about Indianapolis and they like the city,” he said. “They’ve lived here for four years. So they like the city, they like what it has to offer and they like the young vibe that’s around here and they want to stay.”

“A lot of times they get out and decide that they miss Indianapolis or they miss the state or the cost of living is more expensive somewhere else and they want to come back here, or they find that the job opportunity they went toward was not what they thought it was going to be. Any time that we can retain a young mind that has college knowledge, that helps our workforce, that helps everything in the state.”

Beaulieu says about 60% of Butler students stay to work in the state of Indiana, and that’s typical for most universities around the state right now.

There is a big event in Muncie Wednesday to connect students and employers. It’s being put on by the Indiana Youth Institute.

School counselors, teachers and other youth-serving professionals will learn what job options students have after high school and what those students will need to do to pursue careers in those fields. They will also be able to network with local companies to ensure the success of their students after they leave high school.

The panel discussion and training session “Postsecondary Pathways: Connecting Education to Careers for Student Success” will be held at Ivy Tech in Muncie. It will also include a free tour of Magna Powertrain, Inc. The tour will give participants a firsthand look at a technologically advanced manufacturing facility to help them better prepare their students for real world career opportunities. They will also gain more knowledge on pathways to careers, including certificate and degree programs that take less time to earn than a four-year degree.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Ivy Tech, 4301 South Cowan Road, Muncie, 47302. The cost to attend is $10. More information can be found here. Pre-registration is required for the tour of Magna Powertrain, Inc. Transportation to and from the tour facility will be provided.

For more information, contact the Indiana Youth Institute at 800-343-7060.