Report ranks Indy second in nation for college graduate jobs, affordability

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A recent survey placed Indianapolis near the top of the list across the nation when it comes to job prospects and affordability for recent college graduates.

The report by and lists Indianapolis just behind Pittsburgh but way ahead of other traditional graduate magnet cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

Job options, affordable rent and a community of similarly-educated college graduates pushed Indianapolis to the number two position in the survey.

With a typical starting income of approximately $32,000 for graduates, and a relatively reasonable average monthly rent of $1,275, Indianapolis also ranked fourth in the nation for job openings and 21st for relative percentage of college graduates.

Those findings don’t surprise Betsy Knott of the Professional Education Center at the University of Indianapolis.

“Indianapolis is an economical place to live. There are plenty of things to do. You’ve got successful sports teams. You’ve got new buildings and apartments being built downtown,” she said. “Students have just as many options in Indianapolis as they do in Chicago or Austin or Seattle but it's an easier place to live.”

With the average outstanding student loan debt hovering at $37,000, Knott said many graduates are realizing the benefit of a sustainable first job in an affordable city as opposed to a higher risk career far from family and support systems.

“Students are riddled with more debt than they used to have and we hear students walk into our office and say, ‘I just want to find a good job that will pay me well that I can stay in for a certain number of years before I try to move up the chain and I can start to pay back some of this debt,’" she said.

“The number of positions that are available in tech and banking, you could name any industry in the city of Indianapolis and students are going to be able to have opportunity if they desire to stay here,” said Knott. “The tech companies, you cannot find enough help these days because there is such a growth in that industry that is specific to Indianapolis that they can’t bring in enough good talent.”

FitzMark, Inc., is hoping its pending move to the near east side of downtown just off Massachusetts Avenue will attract top talent to double its workforce.

“We’re looking to add around 75 people. They will primarily be sale positions but to grow in the sales departments we’re going to be hiring across the board in all departments: marketing, IT, accounting, primarily sales force,” said Brand Manager Taylor Williams. “The earning potential in this industry is quite significant. We have a great commission structure as well as a straight rate salary. So these younger kids can come in right out of college and within a few years making a significant amount of money.”

Williams said the trucking logistics company’s move this coming October from West 84th Street to the 900 block of Dorman Street and the former site of Cannon IV is intended to increase the firm’s visibility along the bypass just east of downtown plus put potential employees in the heart of the city.

“It’s a developing neighborhood for young professionals so we’re excited to draw that talent in,” said Williams. “We’re hoping to draw more people who want to live downtown and work downtown.”

FitzMark’s new home is just a few blocks from the Super Bowl Legacy Project near Arsenal Technical High School financed and inspired by Super Bowl XVI in 2012.

“The demographic we’re looking for is young professionals just out of college so I don’t know any freshly graduated student who wouldn’t want to work and live downtown, so, we’re close to Mass Ave., we’re very close to a hot spot for a lot of young people in Indianapolis, we’re just a hot second away from downtown, from the Circle.”

Williams said FitzMark bought the copier and sales site for $3 million and will invest $1 million to renovate its warehouse into a gymnasium along with an open office atmosphere and common area, interior designs that meet the needs of the collegial work space and generational trend toward socialized teamwork.

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