A recent survey by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce found that nearly 40 percent of Indiana employers left jobs open because they were unable to find qualified candidates.
As our state economy advances, we must have a workforce to match. Too many Hoosiers remain unemployed or underemployed because they are not equipped with the skills necessary to fill well-paying, in-demand jobs.
The effort to improve job training begins in our elementary schools and extends to programs aimed at re-training adults. In recent years, Indiana has maintained a strong focus on closing the skills gap and pioneering an inventive and effective workforce development plan.
In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law creating regional works councils that were tasked with evaluating vocational programs at Indiana high schools and finding innovative best practices. An additional group was formed to connect the state's education and workforce development systems with industry professionals to make sure training programs accurately reflect the needs of Indiana's job market.
Recently, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $3 million in grants will be provided to career and technical training programs across the state. These programs work in conjunction with the eleven regional works councils to offer innovative and collaborative job-training opportunities for Hoosier students and adults.Students of these programs are given hands-on work and the opportunity to learn from top professionals in high-demand career fields, ranging from advanced manufacturing and machining to health care and entrepreneurship. Cummins, Conexus, IU Health Systems, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy and many other industry leaders have partnered with school corporations, colleges and local economic development groups to create these training programs.
In addition, the private sector has contributed more than $4 million in matching funds for these career and technical innovation grants.
The business community understands that they have a stake in preparing Hoosier workers for the future, and their involvement is now taking Indiana education to the next level. The certifications, dual credits and internship offerings provided by these grant recipients will align with local business needs and help steer students along a viable career path.
It is exciting and encouraging to see the success of Indiana's works councils after only one year of operation. This program is proof that by working together, the private and public sectors can achieve great results.
Indiana's leaders, employers, educators and workers have joined forces to propel our state forward. You can learn more about this program, as well as apply for the next cycle of career and technical education grants at www.in.gov/irwc