Indiana workforce officials are convening dozens of groups of local education and business leaders across the state to improve training efforts for new workers.
It’s the next phase of the Indiana’s Skill UP program, which aims to help localize training efforts for the state’s estimated one million job openings in the next decade.
Workforce development commissioner Steve Braun shared local workforce data with the Lafayette-area group – made up of high school superintendents, vocational and technical educators and local employers – on Monday.
“The federal government’s not going to solve this for us. State government’s not going to solve this for us, although we can provide a tremendous amount of support and resources,” Braun said in an interview outside the meeting. “This really gets solved at the community level.”
The state’s role is to provide data. For example, Braun’s department projects that Lafayette will need more secretaries, truck drivers and nursing assistants in the next decade, but fewer clerks and machinists.
The Innovation Network groups will receive updated numbers every three months.
“We can constantly look out at that horizon and constantly be looking at the trends – when will automation impact? when will driverless cars happen,” Braun says. “We can then shift to really teaching against those and sourcing talent into those new opportunities.”
Braun says he hopes better data and employer input will help school guidance counselors and adult education programs hone in on current local job needs.
More than 90 groups like Lafayette’s applied to join the Innovation Network before last Friday’s deadline, far more than Braun says they expected.