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Many students inclined to leave region for careers

Jan 19, 2024

Nearly half of middle and high school students in northeast Indiana say it’s unlikely they will pursue their careers here, a recent survey of 414 students suggests.

The survey was conducted as part of the Your Future: Make It Your Own (www.yfmiyo.org) career awareness initiative, a Northeast Indiana Works-led effort to assist students in choosing a career path and encouraging them to apply their education and training to work in northeast Indiana.

Forty-nine percent of students surveyed said it was very likely or somewhat likely that they will leave the region to pursue a career. The survey shows 10th graders seem most inclined (61.9%) to eventually leave northeast Indiana. That likelihood decreases to 39.2% once they enter 12th grade.

“Students typically take a deeper dive into potential career and lifestyle options closer to the 12th grade and that may explain the difference,” said Rick Farrant, communications director at Northeast Indiana Works. “Nevertheless, we need to continue touting the abundance of career opportunities right here in our region.”

The Your Future: Make It Your Own campaign is supported by the Dekko Foundation and the Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation.

The survey is the second in a series and is designed to chart the progress of career awareness initiatives. In the first survey, 51% of students said they were likely to leave northeast Indiana to pursue a career.

Among other findings of the recent survey:

  • Forty-eight percent of students feel pressure about choosing a career. That number has increased 7 percent since the first survey was conducted a year ago.
  • Seventy-five percent of students believe they have enough information about different career paths they can explore. That is a 2 percent increase from the first survey.
  • Adults with the greatest career influence on students range from counselors in seventh grade, to teachers in eighth grade and to parents in the final year of high school.
  • Students in 11th grade have the highest confidence level when choosing their career path and feel that they have adequate information about their options. The confidence level drops slightly once the student reaches 12th grade.    

The survey was completed by students in Allen, Adams, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.