Indiana, like many states, continues to battle a growing labor shortage. Building a talent pipeline in high school is a strategy that many states are embracing. As Indiana school districts align curriculum and resources to comply with state requirements for graduation, career pathways and employer engagement will undoubtedly become clearer and more robust.

The primary barriers to the expansion of work-based learning and career exploration programs for K12 students are time and connections. To address these issues, Invest Hamilton County has a dedicated Career Exploration Connector who will work in partnership with The Pursuit Institute, Chambers of Commerce, disability service providers, and the six school corporations across Hamilton County.

The purpose:

  • to develop a consistent and streamlined process to efficiently and effectively engage employers in K12 schools;
  • identify student-initiated demands for partnership to ensure every student is college, career and life ready after graduation;
  • build up collective connections and the capacity of existing and expanding programs through centralized, strategic employer engagements.

The goal is to build a sustainable and professional business engagement process countywide that makes employer and community engagement professional and centralized.

Navigating the transition from education to the workforce can be challenging for all students, especially those who face additional barriers or are marginalized. High-quality, robust work-based learning programs can help ease this transition and prepare students for the workforce by creating opportunities for hands-on learning in their fields of interest. Work-based learning ranges from career exposure to career experience which include registered apprenticeships, on-the-job training, internships, and job shadowing.

So, how can employers get involved with students at school districts in Hamilton County?

To keep it simple, there are three ways:

  1. Career Discovery Meetings – in person meeting with a group of students to discuss careers and job experiences. Industries of interest include medical, biomedical, engineering, manufacturing, construction, welding, teaching, computer science, cybersecurity, insurance, finance/accounting, law, energy, real estate, criminology, culinary, and more.
  2. Job Shadow – opportunity for students to shadow someone on the job to get “day in the life” exposure of the job demands.
  3. Internships – students are matched and placed in a work-based learning environment. Internships are a commitment of at least 90 hours in a job setting over a semester, summer or throughout the year. This is an opportunity for students to build relevant career skills and experience during their junior and/or senior year of high school.

For more information contact Dawn Lang at