BLT: Unemployment numbers are lower and local companies are hiring (5/25/2012)

Friday, May 25, 2012 7:00 pm

Start Date:  5/25/2012  Start Time:  12:00 AM
End Date:  5/25/2012  End Time:  11:59 PM

The Department of Workforce Development released Indiana’s Employment Report for April 2012, and the numbers were remarkable. In April, Indiana added 15,400 new jobs which was six times the national average. These jobs accounted for roughly 12 percent of the nation’s increase. Most notably, Southwest Indiana is doing particularly well in comparison to the rest of the state and nation.

Compared to Indiana’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, which is below the national average of 8.1 percent, locally the rates are 7.2 percent in Vanderburgh, 6.9 percent in Gibson and 6 percent in Warrick. I strongly believe this is due to the hard work that leaders in both our community and across the state are putting into attracting and retaining jobs.

Over the last two years in the General Assembly, we have created tax incentives and tax credits for small businesses, entrepreneurs and corporations. Locally, we also have the type of community that keeps and attracts businesses, including excellent local educational institutions, hospital systems and infrastructure.

In fact, I recently met with several local groups who told me they have many job openings, but are lacking qualified applicants. The Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association (TSMA) held their quarterly meeting sponsored by The Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana recently at USI. TSMA is a group of local manufacturers that work to increase employment for their partners by holding peer group discussions and sharing best practices with one another.

At their meeting, they discussed their most recent survey concerning our local workforce and what local manufacturers are in need of. In summary, they found that the individuals applying for the jobs they have available do not always possess the necessary technical skills. They are lacking the certifications they can gain at either a technical or vocational institution; from what I understand, they usually make a very good income. This survey brought to light multiple issues that TSMA, along with other local institutions, can work and plan to improve over time in our community. 

I also met with Atlas Van Lines to discuss their needs to fill the jobs they have available. I was told they could currently hire 100 drivers, but their situation is similar to local manufacturers’ in the area. Atlas said that those that apply do have their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which a person can obtain in an eight week course, but they lack the business skills necessary for the modern transportation industry. Atlas needs drivers who not only own their own truck, but can also manage the time and money provided in their contract. They should also be able to hire their own crew to load and unload their trucks at multiple locations. Atlas said their best drivers, who have very strong business skills sets, can make in excess of $200,000 annually.

Finally, our local hospitals and other medical institutions are growing quickly. In August, The Village at Hamilton Pointe, a new senior living facility, will be opening. They are in need of trained, skilled nurses in addition to other staff positions.

The Warrick Education Center and Workforce One announced they will be offering Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes starting May 29. Anyone can take these classes at a cost of $950 (including tuition and books). Hospitals in our area, as well as nursing homes and other medical offices, are looking for trained CNA’s. This could be an excellent opportunity for many individuals in our community.

As you can see, we are beginning to see an uptick in jobs in our community. I encourage you to seek out these opportunities, and if you need any additional information please feel free to contact me. I can be reached by phone at 317-232-9674 or by email at H75@in.gov.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)

Bacon's Legislative Thoughts, Unemployment numbers are lower and local companies are hiring, 5-25-12.docx