One of Indiana’s biggest long-term challenges is the skills gap that exists between available jobs and available workers. For example, nearly a third of Indiana employers responded to a survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce saying they felt that filling an open position is their biggest challenge, and nearly half of the employers reported that they left an open job unfilled in 2017 due to lack of qualified candidates.
Between now and 2025, Indiana is expected to have over one million job openings, and it is essential we are able to fill those positions with qualified candidates in order to improve the lives of Hoosiers and keep our economy thriving. This legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 50 and House Enrolled Act 1002 to work in conjunction to advance Hoosiers’ skills by expanding and improving job-training programs, creating a Workforce Cabinet and increasing students’ access to career coaches.
SEA 50 replaces the 43-member State Workforce Innovation Council with a more agile and decisive 21-member Governor’s Workforce Cabinet that will streamline Indiana’s workforce development programs. In addition, SEA 50 will put the newly established cabinet to work creating a Career Navigation and Coaching system to better educate Hoosiers about various career pathways. One of the major factors contributing to the skills gap is students’ and workers’ lack of knowledge about good-paying jobs through alternative routes aside from a traditional four-year college degree. The system will bridge this gap by providing information on career opportunities and helping individuals of all ages establish a career path.
Expanding the governor’s Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant program, HEA 1002 provides incentives to employers that offer higher-level training programs to employees in the state’s most in-demand industries. Since some Hoosier students are beginning to choose alternative credentials other than college, HEA 1002 also expands the Workforce Ready Grant program, originally created in 2017 to provide financial assistance for high-value certificate programs to financially independent adults, to now benefit younger, dependent students as well.
These new laws will help build a better future for our state, giving Hoosiers more access to job training and employment opportunities. Improving workforce development is critical to maintaining our state’s success, which is why it has been one of my legislative priorities for the last few years and is one of the accomplishments of which I am very proud.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or other topics, contact my office by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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