Arnold: Expanding Indiana’s workforce

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Thursday, June 8, 2017 9:14 am

Indiana’s unemployment rate is continuing to fall each month. In general, economists agree that a rate below 5 percent indicates a strong economy. Currently, our statewide unemployment rate is at 3.6 percent. This is lower than the national average of 4.4 percent, and it is lower than all four of our bordering states.

Recently, the Department of Workforce Development released a list of local unemployment rates across the state. The reported numbers suggest that not only is Indiana moving in the right direction, but our local communities are as well. This past April, all the counties in our area saw a drop in unemployment rates compared to April 2016. In Crawford and Orange counties, the unemployment rates went from 5.4 percent to 3.4 and 5.3 percent to 3, respectively. Perry and Spencer counties saw drops from 4.5 percent to 2.7 and 3.8 percent to 2.5, year-over-year. Dubois County also had impressive numbers, coming in with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 1.9 percent. This legislative session, actions were taken in the General Assembly with the goal of extending this positive trend that is being seen in Indiana’s workforce.

It is a notable accomplishment to see more Hoosiers than ever before joining the workforce, but there are still more jobs to fill. There are currently close to 78,000 open positions needing to be filled, with nearly 1 million expected to be open in Indiana by 2022. To meet this need, the General Assembly enacted a new law aimed at continuing to grow and strengthen the labor force in our state. The law will create Workforce Ready Grants for individuals seeking employment in high-demand, high-wage jobs. The grants will cover the remaining costs after state and federal financial aid have been applied for students obtaining high-value occupational certificates. There will also be Adult Student Grants to encourage non-traditional students to pursue certified training or complete their college degrees. Additionally, the policy will ensure that the progress of workforce development programs are tracked and that they are working together to benefit Hoosiers.

It is my hope that these efforts will continue moving Indiana forward and make it an even greater place to live and work. If you have any questions about this new law, don’t hesitate to contact my office at 317-232-9793 or h74@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74,

which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.