Indiana Joins Workforce Network To Shrink Workforce Deficit

Feb 22, 2018

State leaders have joined a network in hopes of solving a projected employment gap.

The Markle Foundation’s Skillful State Network links Indiana with 19 other states. The network shares best practices among participating states to write a playbook for how to successfully fill 21st Century jobs.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says the Hoosier State needs to recruit high quality talent to fill an anticipated 1 million open jobs by 2025.

“We live in a global economy where we are competing against not just 49 other states, but places of investment all over the world,” Holcomb says.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development commissioner Fred Payne says he hopes the Hoosier State’s labor deficit can be shrunk through modernization the network will suggest.

“Our workforce systems need to evolve with the changing of the workforce, the changing technology, the demands of employers,” Payne says.

Markle Foundation director Katy Hamilton says the network wants to operate as a resource for states.

“We believe that the current labor market is broken and that labor market stakeholders are really struggling,” Hamilton says. “So we really want to work with states and help them by engaging them in multitude of efforts and trying be a place – like a one stop shop where states can go to learn about best practices.”

However, Hamilton recognizes states are both competing with one another and trying to collaborate.

“It’s fierce; the competition for great talent and skills. I just think we have to get more people in the pipeline,” Hamilton says.

Payne says the state will use two measurements for success in the program partnership.

“Are we coming up with new ideas and are we implementing those new ideas,” Payne says. “And then again, are other states taking what we share and deploring them throughout their system.”

Many Indiana officials say the state’s job training shortage is one of its biggest weaknesses in a 21st Century economy.