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NKY Chamber partners with MIT Sloan School of Management to host graduate students

This spring, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) is hosting two MIT graduate students through a partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Management USA Lab, a course aimed at deepening students’ understanding of America’s diverse economic, cultural, and social characteristics.
“This class is designed to benefit both MIT students and the community organizations that host them,” said Barbara Dyer, a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan and Executive Director of the school’s Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. “The host organizations gain fresh insights on pressing issues facing their communities, and students hone critical skills such as market analysis, strategy development, and impact investing along with empathetic listening, all of which make them better business leaders.”

For two weeks in late March, Anant Udpa and Sean Sutherland worked onsite at the NKY Chamber learning the ins and outs of Growing Regional Outcomes through Workforce (GROW NKY), a workforce development and talent strategy initiative focusing on building a collaborative network to align the needs of employers with the interests of a diverse workforce.
“It has been an incredibly inspiring and eye-opening experience, seeing all of the work being done here across so many fronts,” said Udpa. “By convening a passionate group of public, private, and social sector leaders, the GROW NKY initiative has given me an appreciation for what it takes to drive real collective impact in the community.”

“Visiting Northern Kentucky introduced me to delicious local restaurants, beautiful running paths, and world-class bourbon, but my favorite part of the trip by far was meeting and speaking with so many of the passionate people who are working together to build and grow their vibrant community,” said Sutherland.
Udpa and Sutherland have the rest of the semester to concentrate on reporting mechanisms and analytics that will enable the regional participants to mark progress and determine whether their goals for a system-wide approach to quality jobs are being achieved.
“When the key workforce and industry partners came together to create the strategy for GROW NKY, I knew this workforce initiative was a far more comprehensive work plan that we’d had in the past,” said Leisa Mulcahy, Vice President of Workforce. “Having the MIT Sloan team, Anant and Sean, has lifted the work of GROW NKY to an even greater level, and the work they’ve already done will create easier access for employers to access workforce solutions in our region. We are so grateful to have them as part of our team.”
Udpa is currently pursuing an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to graduate school, he worked in management consulting before joining Social Finance, an impact investing start-up structuring innovative financing mechanisms to scale evidence-based nonprofits. Udpa grew up in Okemos, Michigan and received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Sutherland is also a current MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to business school, he spent four years working in management consulting at Oliver Wyman in their Boston office and spent six months leading an accelerator for early-stage technology-driven social ventures at the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City. Sutherland grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut and is a graduate of Williams College, where he studied Mathematics and Psychology and served as co-captain of the varsity swim and dive team.

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