$1.4 Million Lilly Endowment Grant to Support TechPoint Talent Attraction and Development Initiatives

Photo by Theresa Carper
The Xtern class size more than doubled from the pilot program in 2014 to the 2015 class.

TechPoint, Indiana’s tech growth initiative, announced today that Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved a $1.4 million grant to help attract and retain tech talent in the state. The grant will support TechPoint’s Xtern program, which matches tech-skilled college students with Indianapolis-based companies, and a new program aimed at retaining recent college graduates.

“Xtern is an example of the programs TechPoint is creating that address the workforce needs of our tech community,” said Mike Langellier, CEO of TechPoint. “Our team’s goal – in everything we do – is to strengthen the tech community in Indiana. The Endowment grant gives us the runway to do just that.”

TechPoint is an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, which brings together leaders of Central Indiana corporations, foundations and universities in strategic collaboration to support the region’s prosperity and growth.

This is the second Endowment grant awarded to Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation to support TechPoint’s talent development initiatives. The Endowment made a $1.3 million grant in 2013 to help launch the Xtern program.

With that support and support from a handful of area tech companies, TechPoint created the program to be “the ultimate tech internship experience.”

Xterns participate in multiple hackathons, like the #IndyCivicHack, and teach young children how to code through mentoring programs.
Xterns participate in multiple hackathons, like the #IndyCivicHack, and teach young children how to code through mentoring programs.

The goal: provide an unparalleled summer internship for high-potential, tech-skilled college students with Indianapolis-area companies. Since the launch, nearly 600 college students at 33 universities in 14 states applied to be part of the Xtern program. Fifty students were selected as Xterns for the first class in summer 2014. During summer 2015 the program grew to 108 Xterns.

Perks of the program include a paid summer job at one of 37 different Indianapolis-area companies, group housing provided in downtown apartments, professional and skills development workshops, networking with area tech leaders, social activities and exposure to Indianapolis’ vibrant arts and cultural organizations.

In addition, Xterns gave back to the Indianapolis community by building apps and websites for non-profit organizations and teaching young students how to code.

“We admire TechPoint’s innovative efforts to attract gifted tech-minded students to Indianapolis,” said Sara Cobb, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “As the Xtern program helps these students prepare for careers in technology fields, they learn that our region has much to offer them professionally and they see that Indianapolis is a great place to build a future.”

Because of this exceptional experience, these talented software developers, engineers and graphic designers are much more likely to make a career in Indiana. Prior to the Xtern program, only 22% of Xterns had a positive impression of Indy, with many not having much impression of or experience with the city. After Xtern, 98% have a positive impression. Before Xtern, only 12% reported being likely to start their career in Indianapolis after graduation. After the Xtern experience, 78% are now likely to take a job in Indianapolis after graduation.

“The Xtern program connected me to a network of talented peers and powerful players in the Indy tech community,” said Sam Noble, a senior at Ball State University. “It was the best, most productive summer of my college career.”

“The Xtern program’s community aspects — students living together and doing activities together — allows them to gain a much broader perspective on the city and its technology landscape,” said Bryan Everly, CTO, NextGear Capital. “The Xtern program is already having a positive impact on these students’ desire to seek permanent employment in Indiana post-graduation.”

“Through the Xtern program, we are showing the nation’s most promising college students what Indy has to offer,” said Sally Reasoner, director of Talent Initiatives, TechPoint. “The Xtern experience shows them that Indianapolis is a city of folks who support one another to achieve greatness, of builders who pride themselves on their craft, and of community-minded individuals invested in the next generation of creators.”

To learn more about Xtern or to apply for next summer’s Xtern class, visit www.xtern.me.

NextGear Capital

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Staff Report. TechPoint is focused on strengthening the tech community in Indiana.