We live in a society with innumerable possibilities at our fingertips, and it can be difficult to know which direction to move forward in. After college, what happens next? If college is not right for me, where can I find a job? These are formidable life-questions that we all eventually have to address.
I came to the same crossroads deciding to find employment in Indiana and make it my permanent place of residence. Already accustom to the Hoosier hospitality and with the state’s economic growth and potential, Indiana stood out as an attractive place to live and eventually raise a family.
However, some high school or college graduates that are unable to find work in Indiana are looking to other states for employment opportunities. There are currently 2.4 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs available for every unemployed person in our state, so employment opportunities are here but a disconnect exists with the state’s education system and the workforce.
In an attempt to bridge this gap, Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) authored House Bill (HB) 1002. This bill establishes the Indiana Career Council (ICC) to unite the major players in the state’s workforce development efforts. With sixty-seven percent of manufacturing companies reporting a shortage of available, qualified workers, this 15 member council aims to create a bridge between these companies and job-skills training institutions, like Ivy Tech.
Indiana is the nation’s leading manufacturing-intensive state, with 25 percent of Hoosier products coming from the industry. By knowing what qualifications these manufacturing companies require, and by focusing job training towards that, more Hoosiers will receive the training necessary to fill these positions.
After listening to Speaker Bosma address the intent of this bill, I knew it reflected the focus of our agenda – to bridge the skills gap and to employ more Hoosiers. Not only does it require a strategic plan to improve Indiana’s career and job training structure, the council must report to the General Assembly and recommend what actions are needed for improvements to take place.
Ultimately, this communication and data-sharing initiative will help answer those life-questions that Hoosiers are presented with. They will be better informed to make a decision that best fits their needs – whether personal or familial. Although my personal path has led me to settle-down in the Hoosier state, which I understand may not be the right choice for everyone; I hope that jobs are never the reason for seeking residency elsewhere.