IUP graduate Mark Hilliard gave a presentation to the Economics Club on March 6, 2019. Hilliard became president of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce in 2018. He graduated from IUP in 2000 as a communications/media major and obtained a master’s degree
in business education from Grand Canyon University.
From left: Angela Mosbrucker, Shannon Ferguson, Brooke Allen, Mark Hilliard, Hailey Fisher, Valerie Berryman
Hilliard discussed his responsibilities as president of the Chamber, provided information about the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, gave insight as to what skills employers are looking for, and offered advice on how students can become more involved
within the Indiana community.
The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce consists of 656 members who promote local businesses, develop programs for high school students, participate in committees, and support the local community. Hilliard directs, plans, and organizes all of the events
held in Indiana, with the help of chamber members. He is responsible for figuring out ways to endorse local industries, as well as how to bring in new businesses to the area. Hilliard is involved in filling local job openings, managing chamber committees,
and increasing student engagement within the community.
During his presentation, Hilliard discussed the University Relations Committee, a committee focused on increasing student involvement in Indiana. The University Relations Committee is currently working on increasing internship opportunities available
for IUP students. The Chamber is focusing on creating an internship database, to make it is easier for local business to connect with students. An internship database will drastically increase networking opportunities available for students within
When discussing the potential internships, an audience member asked what type of skill sets these businesses would be seeking. Hilliard mentioned that strong soft skills are extremely important within the workforce. He stated that strong soft skills seem
to be one of biggest weaknesses recruiters see in candidates. This information is definitely something to take note of when applying for jobs and internships. Hilliard said he can easily teach someone the skills they need in order to be successful
on the job, as long as he or she is motivated to succeed. He said he would rather hire someone who has no work experience, but is eager to learn, over someone who has experience, but isn’t enthusiastic about the work they are doing.
Along with increasing student engagement through internship opportunities, Hilliard stated that the community is always looking for ways to get IUP students more involved with community events as well. He said that if any student is looking for opportunities
within the community, they should contact the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will help connect them with a committee where their assistance would be beneficial for both parties. Hilliard emphasized that he hopes more students participate
in Downtown Indiana events! They are a great way for students to see what the community has to offer.
The information and advice given by Mark Hilliard was extremely beneficial and appreciated. The Economics Club is thankful for his willingness to come and present.
Department of Economics