University-Industry Engagement Week

Ball State launches student-led County Ambassador Program to address the state’s corporate talent needs

By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2023

Ball State University is launching a student-to-student engagement initiative designed to help all 92 Indiana counties and the state’s businesses with talent attraction. Beginning this fall, the university’s County Ambassador Program will have students serving as spokespeople for their home counties to promote job opportunities and quality of life benefits in those communities to their fellow students.

“We’re really well aware of the needs for talent attraction all over the state, and so we’ve been working to that end for quite a while in helping industry partners think about how do you tell the story more broadly about what your needs are in your area of the state,” said Jeff Eads, director of industry engagement at Ball State.

Eads says the student ambassadors start out by connecting with local leaders to understand what assets are available in their county. Ball State also plans on providing programming sessions for the ambassadors focusing on topics such as the importance of promoting quality of place, how to tell a compelling story about their county, and best practices and for promotion on campus.

Once the ambassadors get a sense of what their county has to offer, Eads said they will take that information back to their peers. The goal is to make students aware of the opportunities available in Indiana so when they graduate, they decide to stay in the Hoosier State.

According to Eads, the program provides benefits for not just the counties themselves, but also for small and medium-sized businesses in those communities that may not have the resources to go on campus and directly interact with students.

“This new Ambassador Program will bring in highly skilled talent across the state” to work in “future-focused industry like semiconductors and EVs and grow existing industries like life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and transportation,” said Tony Denhart, Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s vice president of talent and workforce. “As the state builds out its economy of the future, initiatives like this will help ensure that students know of all the opportunities on their doorstep.”

The county ambassadors are also expected to increase awareness of the university’s other engagement initiatives, including faculty externships, business and executive programs, and the Indiana Connection Lounge.

The students chosen for the program will initially sign up for one academic year, but that could extend to multiple years if they choose. Eads said the first goal is to find ambassadors for all 92 counties, but he noted there could be more than one ambassador per county.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week