TMap seeks to bring talented workers back to Indiana


Indiana Economic Development officials want to have its best and brightest who might have taken jobs out of state to return to the workforce in Indiana.

That’s where TMap comes in, said Michael Rutz, co-founder and executive vice president. Indianapolis-based TMap’s mission is to build talent pipelines.

CIW COM 0202 luncheon
Michael Rutz addresses the Westfield Chamber of Commerce virtually Jan. 21. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

“In Indiana, we are basically approaching a period of time where we are going through a contracting labor pool,” Rutz said Jan. 21 to a virtual Westfield Chamber of Commerce gathering. “It’s supposed to happen this year or next year. Our population is going to start declining in the late 2020s. We are basically looking at 20 to 30 years of flat population growth. How can a community build a real talent-attraction program and then make it real and make these individuals marketable to companies?”

Rutz said people who attended high school or college in Indiana would likely have more affinity for the state and be more likely to return for work than those with no connections.

Rutz said TMap started going through college databases to find alumni who might want to return. Encouraged by Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, TMap started with Purdue. TMap then went to Notre Dame, Ball State, Marian University and Rose-Hulman, among other institutions.

“We started to build a pipeline of individuals who raised their hand, demonstrated an interest of returning to the state and working,” Rutz said.

TMap then started sharing the information with companies and communities as a way to build a talent-attraction program.

“We have close to 30,000 individuals who have registered with us and demonstrated an interest in moving back to Indiana,” Rutz said. “Those are the first people we go to whenever we are working with a community or a company that is looking to hire someone and we need to find talent that is out of state.”

Rutz said TMap then sought to see if it could create a database of high school students.

“The schools have some idea of where (graduates) go to college but then they kind of vaporize and disappear,” Rutz said. “So, we started this program with Hamilton County with the help of the chambers (of commerce) and economic development corporations.”

Rutz said Hamilton County seemed like the best place to start.

“It’s easier to recruit people. There are more amenities, larger cities and more job opportunities,” Rutz said. “Hamilton County was the perfect place because we had a network of high schools that were producing a critical mass of talent. Hamilton County is one of the prolific producers of talent in the state, so we knew we have a huge pool to draw from. There is a lot of action in Hamilton County in terms of companies. There is a lot of growth.”

TMap requested high schools supply any data they had on graduates. The schools were able to share publicly available information, name, address when they were in high school and graduation dates.

Rutz said that was enough to check on social media platforms what graduates were doing.

“We’ve collected about 30,000 names,” he said. “We’ve sent notes out to 2,000, and about 500 have responded, with 150 affirming ‘Yes, I’m interested in learning about opportunities.’”

TMap creates profiles for those who have interest in returning to Indiana and then tailors it to needs in Hamilton County for business owners, Rutz said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Rutz said the market changed to include people seeking jobs from inside Indiana as well.

“If there are individuals displaced or affected by the pandemic and need help finding a job, we’ll also register them,” he said.

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