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Citizens Builds Program to Help Keep Indiana Graduates in State

By Sarah Holsapple on 12/15/16 1:41 PM

Five Indiana Universities Committed to Working with Citizens through PERL Initiative

INDIANAPOLIS- Citizens Energy Group announced today a program designed to help keep Indiana graduates in Indiana. Citizens’ Partnership for Excellence in Research and Learning (PERL) aims to create stronger partnerships with Indiana colleges and universities.  PERL will be presenting many career, research and educational opportunities at Citizens, or its vendor companies, as a way of inspiring students to embark on careers in Indiana after graduation.

“As a crucial part of our future planning, we are continuously looking for talented individuals who can someday fill positions at Citizens,” said Jeffrey Harrison, Citizens President and CEO. “We want the best and brightest to join our team and the teams of our vendor partners. We believe Indiana universities have a vast talent pool from which to choose so we are working hard to engage those students before they seek jobs out of state or even out of the country.”

As part of PERL, Citizens has identified “University Ambassadors” within the company. These Ambassadors are Citizens employees who are still connected to their alma mater and are willing to act as a liaison between these institutions and Citizens. The Ambassadors are tasked with either coming up with creative learning opportunities for students or simply being a contact for students who might be searching for a job shadow opportunity, an  internship or even for someone to serve as a guest speaker.

Purdue University, IUPUI, University of Indianapolis, Ball State University and Trine University have already signed partnership agreements to work with Citizens through PERL. Citizens is in the process of signing agreements with six other universities as well. Currently, 20 PERL projects are ongoing at Citizens. The projects range from students taking tours of our water and wastewater treatment plants, to students analyzing and evaluating how Citizens pumps water out of one of our reservoirs, and even include senior design projects.

“We have found that for Purdue students in STEM disciplines, about 78 percent graduate with at least one internship or co-op experience,” said Dan Hirleman, Purdue Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer. “In fact, for our School of Mechanical Engineering School, more than 90 percent of the Bachelor of Science graduates have had paid internships, or roughly 800 internships per year just for this one school. We are thrilled that PERL will grow the number of Indiana opportunities for our students and cover multiple disciplines.”

Citizens is also thinking about ways to expand PERL to include students earlier in their careers as well as considering how our partnerships can be more effective with those in the workforce that may not be getting a college degree.

“Citizens has an exciting workload that is not slowing down,” said Harrison. “We are building a $2 billion, 28-mile, 20-foot diameter tunnel 250-feet underground. Our steam utility is the second largest one in the country and was recently converted from coal to natural gas. We’re building another water supply reservoir which will be a major source of drinking water for our community.  As an engineer myself, I can honestly say that, while in college, if I had the opportunity PERL is providing to work on projects of this magnitude, I would have jumped at the chance to participate.”

To learn more about PERL, click here.

About Citizens Energy Group

Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 800,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities only for the benefit of customers and the community.

Media Contact Information

Laura O'Brien
(O) 317-927-4341
(C) 317-519-1515

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