Inside Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) graduate assistant Logan Garza from Winchester, Indiana, spends his days analyzing massive amounts of data and evaluating the economic impact of companies throughout Indiana.

Garza, who received his bachelor’s with a double major in accounting and business analytics from Ball State in 2018, is now pursuing his master’s in accounting. He plans on graduating in July.

His Miller College of Business classes positioned him for the fast-paced, analytical client work at the center. During the last several months, Garza has been performing detailed analytics for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County to help evaluate the organization’s economic impact on Indiana.

His work also encompasses human-focused research. Using occupational data, Garza is examining what skills are common among higher-paying job positions. At the same time, he’s uncovering the critical skills those with jobs at risk of being offshored or automated should learn. His analysis will be used in a strategic recommendation report for policymakers.

“I want to help those in unstable job positions to transition into new roles that become available or find a different occupational path,” Garza said. “Being a graduate assistant has not only allowed me to sharpen my skills for future employment and work with fellow researchers, economists, graphic designers, and technical developers, but it’s made graduate school financially possible.

“In fact, working at CBER has me aware of learning skills that lead to jobs that won’t be outsourced or automated in the future. Simply, we are learning how to be flexible and focus on lifelong learning.”

“This work is important because there is so little good understanding of the effects of automation on employment, and its impact on communities,” Director of CBER Michael Hicks said. “Logan’s work has been critical in helping us analyze the data concerning automation risks and communicating it to policymakers, educators and students.”

Garza’s in-depth experience has already paid off, landing him a job starting in October at Katz, Sapper & Miller, a public accounting firm in Indianapolis. Garza’s ultimate goal is to become a certified public accountant.