brain drain

Jae Lee / WBAA News

While he was governor, Mitch Daniels talked a lot about reversing Indiana’s worrying “brain drain” trend. A dismal number of Hoosiers complete college, and many who do venture outside the state to make their way in the world. But now Purdue’s President has a plan for “brain gain.” We ask him about it on this month’s edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with Mitch Daniels.


One of every two computer science students at Indiana colleges will leave the state after graduation, according to a recent study.

It has schools such as Purdue University trying new ways to reverse that economic loss, by investing in trendy fields where students want to work – such as virtual reality, or VR.

It’s the next big thing in the video game industry, which is now worth more than the film industry.

Gretchen Frazee / WTIU

During the fourth State of Higher Education address Wednesday, Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers focused on increasing the value of higher ed in Indiana, and says the commission can  work to ensure college and credential programs lead students to jobs.

To do this, Lubbers says universities must partner with employers to provide internship opportunities for students.

An Aging Indiana Workforce's Effect On Brain Drain

Oct 5, 2015
John Lamb /

The number of mature workers is on the rise in Indiana.

Nationally, there are more than 3.4 million workers over the age of 70. That number has doubled since the late 1990s. The latest figures also show that 2.3-percent of the current U.S. workforce is now 70 or older.

Orion Bell is CEO of Indianapolis-based CICOA Aging and In Home Solutions. He says people over the age of 60 in Central Indiana currently contribute $2.1 billion in paid employment each year. Such figures are expected to rise as Americans live longer and Baby Boomers age.

Jeremy Wilburn /

“Brain Drain” is the phenomenon where people choose to leave the area where they grew up and went to school to pursue employment and set down roots elsewhere.

Indiana government, business and education leaders have long worked to develop ways to combat this exodus of talent from the state.

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says in order for his town to grow and thrive economically, it has to attract more young people to live and work there.

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

The City of Crawfordsville is in the midst of multiple grant proposals to the state. We talk a lot on this week’s program about the ins and outs of the Stellar Communities grant for which Crawfordsville is a finalist, but there’s also the governor’s Regional Cities Initiative.

So is it considering double-dipping if one city attempts to receive multiple gifts from the state?

A lot of the Stellar application is based around attracting and keeping young people in Crawfordsville.

Ed Yourdon /

The Indiana arm of Western Governors University has grown more than ten-fold in the past four years, according to numbers released by school administrators.

260 students were enrolled four years ago. Today, more than 3,600 take classes from the online, nonprofit state university.

Chancellor Allison Barber says a new scholarship program could grow that number further.

"In celebration of our fourth anniversary, WGU Indiana just launched [its] largest scholarship offering. And it's $400,000 in scholarship money," Barber says.

Human resources representatives of Greater Lafayette companies are working to attract and retain young professionals.

They were part of a daylong discussion on the topic sponsored by Tippy Connect, Purdue and Greater Lafayette Commerce.

One issue they’re dealing with is what’s available for young professionals to do outside of work.

Tippy Connect president Brianne Keyes says she was not surprised by any of the points brought up, but she thinks executives learned quite a bit.