Long known as the home of the Indy 500, Indiana is building its own tech ecosystem by investing in talent development, diverse workforces and Indianapolis tech companies.
Colleges Producing Tech Grads
The city known for corn and race cars has experienced a quiet, yet substantial, growth of the tech industry since IBM acquired Indianapolis-based Software Artistry Inc, the state’s first publicly traded software company, for $200 million back in 1997. Since then, leading universities in the city and the state have developed programs that are graduating some of the most qualified and diverse tech talent. The tech-focused programs are preventing brain drain to places like the SIlicon Valley and the Bay Area and attracting top tech talent with lower costs of living and high career growth potential.
Purdue University, also known as Purdue Polytechnic Institute, reports a 100% placement rate for graduates from its Technology Education Programs. Other institutions that are contributing to the development of young tech talent in Indy include Indiana University, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame, Ball State University, Butler University and DePauw University. Indianapolis Ivy Tech, the largest community college system in the US, is also producing a pipeline of graduates with technical know-how and a clear trajectory into the industry.
TechPoint, an industry-led nonprofit, is connecting the actors in the tech space to create a network of Indianapolis tech companies and community organizations and fostering an ecosystem of innovation in the process.
Indianapolis Broadens Reach for Talent through Inclusion
Beyond having a large talent pool, Indy also boasts an intentionally diverse talent pool. Organizations committed to increasing accessibility to tech jobs and skills development are paving the path for inclusivity in tech in Indianapolis.
Be Nimble is an Indianapolis tech diversity nonprofit that promotes Black and Latinx tech professionals and startup founders. The organization hosts networking events and houses a startup accelerator, mentorship programs, and career training.
Indy Women In Tech is committed to closing the gender gap in STEM fields. The nonprofit encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM fields through financial support, training, and mentorship, among other opportunities, the group seeks to advance Indiana’s STEM community through more representation.
Code Black is a nonprofit and social enterprise focused on helping underserved minority students skill up and step into their place as the innovative tech leaders of the future. Through camps, demos, classes, the organization provides tech training essential to inclusion in the future of workplaces. Code Black also connects its members to employment opportunities through a variety of B2B relationships.
Martin University is also closing equity gaps through its work-college model. With less than 300 students enrolled at an average age of 38, the school’s mission has been to serve low-income, adult learners. Through their partnership with Ivy Tech, Martin University is able to channel resources to find graduates high paying tech jobs while attaining their degrees.
Connecting Talent to Growing Companies
Organizations that are connecting the talent to those looking for it have been essential to preventing Indianapolis tech companies from operating in silos. Because so many of these organizations are looking to create communities of practice, finding the right talent for the right purpose comes easily in Indy.
Prior to the economic downturn of the COVID era, stakeholder organizations in Central Indiana collaborated to create the Regional Workforce Partnership (RWP) to fill the gaps between employers and job seekers. Because of this, Indiana’s RWP was able to implement a Rapid Re-employment Response and create one central platform for job seekers in the state in the wake of the pandemic.
High Alpha, a venture capital firm for Indiana based startups, has raised over $250 million in capital over the past six years with the purpose of directing it specifically towards Indianapolis startups. Their passion for the growth of the city is helping direct the tech sector away from SIlicon Valley towards the “Railroad City”. One of the fund’s partners, Kristian Andersen, has even gone so far as to name his son, Indy, after the city he fell in love with since he attended college there in the 90s.
The founders of the fund worked closely with the deal that brought cloud-based sales giant, Salesforce, to the city in 2013. Salesforce first acquired ExactTarget, Indy-based email marketing software and is now moving into a physical space in Indianapolis and creating a presence with plans to hire over 800 employees by the end of this 2021.
Kronos, a leading software company built to offer workforce solutions, has also tapped into the benefits of a diverse workforce in Indy. Domenic Locapo, Director of PR, told Forbes that talent pools were key to the Kronos adventure in Indy: “Many of the positions at the Kronos Indy office are filled by recent college graduates and people starting their technology/cloud/professional services/consultation careers. Therefore, one main reason the company chose to pursue an Indy office was to tap into the local pipeline of exceptional tech talent throughout Indiana.”
The low cost of living along with the tech talent growth rate in Indianapolis makes the city and the state of Indiana an attractive place for company expansion.With all this in mind, it is no surprise that major tech firms are looking towards Indy for their company expansions.