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Leveling Up: Indiana’s Next Level Jobs Initiative

Monday, October 23, 2017

Have you heard about Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative yet? If not, it’s worth paying attention to, even if you don’t think training has anything to do with you or with economic development.

Indiana’s quality workforce is often cited as a feature. With a low unemployment rate in the state, a large number of job openings state-wide right now and nearly a million more job openings expected by 2025, Indiana is taking action now to ensure that quality workforce will still be a feature in the future. “Growing our workforce and making ourselves ready for this 21st century is something that we have been focused on every day since I took office,” said Governor Holcomb with the announcement of the new initiative. “Now more than ever, our state needs to ramp up efforts to prepare Hoosiers for the jobs available today…Next Level Jobs will drive our efforts to meet that demand and will put hardworking Hoosiers in high-need, high-wage careers.”

To meet that need, Governor Holcomb recently created a new cabinet-level position, that of Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, and appointed Blair Milo to the spot. Together they announced over $20 million over the next two years that will fund grants supporting training throughout the state.

One grant, the Workforce Ready Grant, aims to help train adults to fill openings in high-demand industries. Targeted at advanced manufacturing, construction, health, life sciences, logistics and information technology, this grant supports certificate programs available through Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University statewide.

Another, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Employer Training Grant, is especially noteworthy because it applies directly to employers and companies. This grant offsets training by offering as much as $2,500 per employee for training in the named industries.

According to Milo, these efforts are critical to the future of the state because connecting employers, workers and training providers is necessary as more workers reach retirement age and as the economy continues to diversify.

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