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Networking event promotes South Bend community

| Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Notre Dame student government held its inaugural ‘Go Irish, Go Local’ networking event in the Duncan Student Center on Monday in a push to encourage more Notre Dame students to stay in South Bend for summer internships and after graduation. The event consisted of remarks by representatives in the area, followed by a networking reception that allowed students to talk to a variety of businesses to learn more about summer internships in the South Bend region.

Attendees seeking summer interns included the Career Analysis Organization of America, enFocus, Umbaugh and Notre Dame’s own IDEA Center.

The organizer of the event, sophomore Fabiola Shipley, said she hopes to drive more attention to South Bend, which she said is “a small city on its way back up.”

“People have been leaving Indiana, particularly South Bend,” she said.

enFocus representative Patrick Jones said analysts have observed “negative net migration” into Indiana, and in 2011 South Bend made national news as one of the top ten dying cities throughout the United States, but is now having a renaissance of jobs and opportunity.

Jones said South Bend has had a successful manufacturing history.

“South Bend, over time, has tried to figure out how to reestablish itself as an economic center,” Jones said.

He said the emergence of fiber optic technology in the region has driven a huge amount of jobs and opportunity.

The goal of the event, Shipley said, was to help reverse the negative net migration into South Bend with the talent fostered at Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame students should be more involved and see the opportunities here,” she said. “South Bend economically is really on the rise. … Trends are in an upwards direction.” 

Kathy Kruz, the recruiting manager for Mishawaka-based financial advisory company Umbaugh, said South Bend has great potential for continued growth.

“The mayor is doing great things and showing great promise,” Kruz said.

Program manager at the IDEA Center, Charles Powell, said the IDEA Center contributes to the community.

“We are pulling up our bootstraps,” he said. “The IDEA center is on fire. We are doing things this community never thought possible. We are doing things this University never thought possible.”

Powell said student startups have taken an upturn since the IDEA center started in July 2017.

“In years past Notre Dame was able to put forth three startups,” he said. “This year alone we have already produced ten student startups, and we are soon to produce sixteen startups by the end of this month … and we hope to almost double that by the end of this year.”

In closing, Powell directly addressed the audience. He said as South Bend continues to grow and create more economic opportunity, it is clear that both Notre Dame and businesses throughout South Bend want to tap into this potential too.

“You represent an amazing group of people. We just haven’t tapped into you yet,” he said.

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About Joseph Clark

Joseph is a Junior studying for a year abroad at the University of Notre Dame. Living in Dagenham, East London for most of his life, Joseph is incredibly excited for his American adventure.

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