Chamber of Commerce creates institute to help employers find talent

By Dionte Coleman
TheStatehousefile.com

INDIANAPOLIS—More than half of Indiana employers responding to a Chamber of Commerce survey say that they have left jobs unfilled because they can’t find qualified workers.

Even though 56 percent say they expect to expand the size of their workforce in the next six months, 62 percent say the supply of qualified people does not meet demand.

That is why the Indiana Chamber of Commerce is creating the Institute for Workforce Excellence, a new program that is dedicated to helping businesses attract, develop and retain the talent they want and need.

Tom Schuman, ndiana Chamber senior vice president of communications and operations, discusses the 2018 Workforce Survey. Photo by Dionte Coleman, TheStatehouseFile.com.

More than 700 businesses and nonprofits large and small responded to the survey seeking information about the challenges facing companies operating in Indiana.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said the institute will help drive a highly skilled and productive workforce by combining the proper tools and resources for employers to use in building a pipeline for talent.

“The institute’s goal is to make Indiana a national leader in having a skilled workforce to ensure that our employers have the talent they need to grow their business and provide quality jobs to Hoosiers,” Brinegar said.

He said the institute will provide employers with a single point of entry to resources that will include training seminars, webinars, compliance publications, access to the state’s resources for college and high school internships and information and assistance with developing policy programs that will battle opioid and other drug abuse.

The institute will make the search for employees to fill vacant jobs easier, said Tom Schuman, the chamber’s senior vice president of communications and operations.

“More and more of today’s jobs require training and education and a certificate of achievement after high school,” Schuman said.

Brinegar said the state needs to develop and offer training programs while employers need to investigate all opportunities to increase the skills of their workforce.

“We may be entering an era where the focus shifts to recruiting people with particular skills and talents to come to their communities to fill the jobs that are available there and help them grow their community,” Brinegar said.

Other survey results:

  • 73 percent of companies primarily handle workforce training needs internally;
  • Only 33 percent indicate they partner with educational institutions to develop talent;
  • Of those that offer tuition reimbursement, 68 percent report that fewer than 5 percent of employees taking advantage of the opportunity to increase their education;
  • 56 percent would consider partnering with education institutions to develop apprenticeships; and
  • 83 percent plan on using paid college interns within the next 12 to 24 months. 

Dionte Coleman is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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