Developing Talent

Good people are the lifeblood of a company, and Ethan Roebuck, HR Generalist at Franklin Electric, knows quality employees are essential to the corporation’s continued success. But how do you maintain consistent quality? He’s found an answer in Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s Fellows Program.

Founded in 1944, Franklin Electric is a global leader in the production and marketing of complete pumping systems for water and fuel. The billion-dollar company employs more than 5,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered right here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This year, they selected four interns from Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s Fellows Program.

“That program, in my mind, is a benchmark for what we would like all interns to go through,” Roebuck said.

The Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Fellows Program is a yearlong experience connecting high potential students with GFW Inc. investors who are committed to talent development and retention.

Potential fellows go through a rigorous vetting and interview process with GFW Inc. After this, fellows interview with investors for desirable positions in their companies. But it’s not just about the on-the-job experience; fellows participate in personal development, civic engagement, and social networking opportunities designed to strengthen community attachment, an important aspect of talent retention–all as part of the overall program facilitated by Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Roebuck said that the students who came to Franklin Electric from GFW Inc. are some of the best interns he’s worked with, and he has high hopes for the future of the program, which is in its inaugural year.

“Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has provided us with top quality interns,” Roebuck said. “We’re a growing company, and as we grow, new opportunities become available…they’ll be able to fill some of these gaps that are created.”

Beyond seeking out qualified candidates, GFW Inc. also works with employers to develop their internship programs.

“Every fall I attend several career fairs…I’ve actually given [them] a few resumes before and asked, ‘hey, can you guys vet these people out?’” Roebuck said. “And at least one of [our current interns] is someone that we found initially, gave to them, they vetted out, and then we came in for the interview.”

By partnering with GFW Inc., Franklin Electric is developing a strong internship program that will cultivate quality candidates and cut down the costs associated with recruitment and training. Fellows receive on-the-job experience, a stronger resume, and valuable connections, and the Fort Wayne business community is strengthened by investment in talent retention. It’s a classic win-win-win scenario.


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