TechPoint, Indiana’s tech growth initiative, will use a $5.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to enhance its efforts in attracting and retaining tech talent in the state. The grant, awarded to the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation, will support TechPoint’s suite of talent programs, recently branded as TechPointX, which are designed to prepare and recruit college students and new graduates for the types of tech jobs available in Indianapolis.
“We launched Xtern in 2014 and since then have created a suite of four talent programs to help us advance toward the vision of establishing the Midwest’s top tech hub here in Indiana,” said Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint.
“Talent is one of the critical ingredients of a thriving tech ecosystem. We are proud of the achievements made through our TechPointX programs and partnerships with employers and universities, and we are extremely grateful to the Lilly Endowment for providing the financial resources to make it happen.”
This is the third Lilly Endowment grant awarded to CICP Foundation to support TechPoint’s talent development initiatives. In 2013, TechPoint received a $1.3 million grant to help launch the Xtern program and a $1.4 million grant in 2015 to continue program support.
TechPoint programs quickly proved effective at improving student opinions about the Indianapolis tech sector, and vital to building the region’s tech talent pipeline by retaining students in Indiana post-graduation. This grant supports TechPoint programs including:
Xtern — Marketed as “The Ultimate Tech Internship,” Xtern targets tech-skilled college upperclassmen for a ten-week paid internship in an Indianapolis tech or tech-enabled company. Since its launch in 2014, Xtern has facilitated 415 internship experiences in 83 local employers for students from 50 universities and 28 states.
Prior to participating in Xtern, only 17 percent of participants reported that they were likely to choose a career in Indy; after Xtern, that number grew to 73 percent. Only 30 percent of participants had a positive impression of Indy before the program. Most had no real impression of Indy and its tech ecosystem. But after participating in Xtern, 97 percent report a positive view.
Xtern Bootcamp — Launched in 2016, Xtern Bootcamp equips college undergraduates from Indiana with short-term technical education and assists them in gaining insights into Indianapolis through group social and civic experiences. Indiana natives and students attending universities in Indiana get priority access to this program in order to intentionally equip and retain regional talent.
“TechPoint and its programs are remarkably successful in attracting talented college and university students to Indianapolis’ tech sector,” said Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “By connecting them with Indianapolis tech companies and all that the city has to offer, TechPoint is helping to build the city’s national reputation as an emerging tech center.”
“I’m so proud of what the programs have accomplished in the first four years and our current team feels so honored to be entrusted with their future development,” said Merillat Flowers, director of college-to-career talent programs. “We are grateful for the tremendous continued support from the Lilly Endowment. Thanks to the funding over the next three years, we will continue to ensure that Indianapolis rises as a top destination for college students pursuing opportunities in technology.”
Tech Community Testimonials
“I think the program creates economies of scale that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” Matt Tyner, vice president of finance and operations at SmarterHQ, said. “For the number of applicants TechPoint gets, they do a very good job of vetting those people, so on the Xtern Finalist Day, we’re picking from the cream of the crop. That saves us a ton of time and guarantees the program a higher success rate because the people that come work for us as Xterns are great people and very talented hires.”
“At High Alpha and our portfolio companies, we rely heavily on the TechPoint Xtern and Indy Tech Fellowship programs to help us source entry level talent for our teams,” MT Ray, vice president of talent at High Alpha, said. “TechPoint’s programs allow us to choose from a carefully curated pool of top talent, making the process much more manageable from our end. Our companies are small, and don’t have the resources to source and screen applicants─these programs are a lifesaver.”
“Our company had one Xtern each of the last two years and plans to have two next year,” Eric Sendelbach, chief technology officer at MOBI, said. “The talent level of our first Xtern, an Ohio State University student, was nothing short of remarkable. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware this level of talent existed at the intern level. He was assisting to train and mentor the rest of our intern class. That intern recently became a full-time hire.”
To learn more about TechPoint’s talent initiatives, visit https://techpoint.org/x.
TechPoint is the nonprofit, industry-led growth initiative for Indiana’s technology companies and overall tech ecosystem. The team is focused on attracting talent, accelerating scale-up companies, activating the community, and amplifying stories of success. TechPoint is an economic development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), which advances the region’s continued prosperity and growth.