Ball State University has unveiled plans for its new County Ambassador Program—a student-to-student engagement initiative that provides all 92 Indiana counties the opportunity to attract Ball State graduates upon the completion of their degrees.
Set to begin in the Fall 2023 semester, Ball State’s County Ambassador Program is “yet another exciting way for our University to engage Indiana employers and regions to help our state flourish,” according to Jeff Eads, director of Industry Engagement at Ball State.
“We look forward to working with our county partners to empower our students from their communities to share in their hometown pride with their friends and classmates,” Mr. Eads said. “We hope the County Ambassador Program will provide invaluable insight for our Cardinals to know what it’s like to live, learn, work, and play in every corner of the state.”
“I want to thank Ball State University for their leadership in helping all counties in our state attract and retain Cardinals after they graduate,” said Tony Denhart, executive vice president of talent and workforce at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). “This new Ambassador Program will bring in highly skilled talent across the state as the IEDC continues to bring in future-focused industry like semiconductors and EVs and grow existing industries like life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and transportation. As the state builds out its economy of the future, initiatives like this will help ensure that students know of all the opportunities on their doorstep.”
Through the County Ambassador Program, individual counties will:
- Identify a Student Ambassador(s) to represent their county
- Provide the Student Ambassador(s) with knowledge of the county’s visitor website, local employers, and significant local assets like parks and entertainment that make their county a great place to live
- Equip the Student Ambassador(s) with giveaways of the county’s choice—stickers, t-shirts, fliers, local discounts, etc.
Ball State will also provide programming sessions for the County Ambassadors on topics that include:
- The importance of promoting quality of place to sustain Indiana communities
- How to tell a compelling story about the student’s county
- Best practices and parameters of promotion on campus
- Recognition of Ambassadors and regions for efforts and successes
“College students are the next generation of leaders, and it is through their experiences and opportunities that they will shape the communities in which they live," said Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer. "County Ambassadors will have the opportunity to promote their Indiana county with a foundation of authenticity and passion towards generating interest, visitors, and new residents.”
The County Ambassadors will also bring greater awareness to other current University engagement initiatives, including skill infusion, faculty externships, business and executive programs, and the Indiana Connection Lounge. Each of these opportunities add value to the Indiana economy through better preparing of individuals with the skills needed in today’s workforce.
As a state-serving institution, Ball State is committed preparing its diverse undergraduate and graduate student body, reflecting the University’s dedication to empowering Cardinals to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While students and alumni are prepared to make a positive impact wherever they choose, the University is committed to assuring that each graduate is aware of the excellent opportunities and welcoming communities throughout the State of Indiana.
“The Commission recognizes Ball State University’s County Ambassador program as an innovative way to retain Cardinal graduates here in Indiana,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery. “Through connection, community and collaboration, County Ambassadors will lead the charge in attracting and retaining talent in all of Indiana’s 92 counties.”
For more information on the County Ambassador Program and other Office of Governmental Relations and Industry Engagement initiatives, visit bsu.edu/industry/engage