By Cameron Mattern
INDIANAPOLIS — The state is looking for ways to re-train Hoosiers to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs with two new programs.
“The state of Indiana needs to make sure we are doing all we can to bridge the gap,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announces two workforce development grants at Allison Transmission in Indianapolis. Photo by Cameron Mattern, TheStatehouseFile.com
The governor, along with the newly-appointed Secretary for Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo, discussed the grants during a news conference Monday against the backdrop of an advanced manufacturing line at Allison Transmission on the west side of Indianapolis. Department of Workforce Development Steve Braun and Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers also took part in the announcement.
The Workforce Ready Grant will provide tuition-free certificates while the Employer Training Grant will help employers cover the cost of training new employees.
The programs are expected to provide more than $20 million over the next two years to both job-seeking Hoosiers and employers.
“We want to see more Hoosiers employed in the jobs that they want,” Holcomb said. “We want to see their tickets to success punched.”
The Workforce Ready Grant covers full tuition costs for adult to earn certificates in high-growth sectors, including advanced manufacturing, construction, and health and life sciences. These certificates can be earned through Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University campuses around Indiana.
The grant was created by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year. The first two years of the grants will be paid for through $4 million provided by the General Assembly plus more than $10 million Commission of Higher Education financial aid funds.
The Employer Training Grant will provide qualifying companies with up to $2,500 per new employee training and retaining new hires. The Department of Workforce Development plans to launch a pilot of the grant for 2018 and 2019, paid for with $10 million in Career and Technical Education Innovation and Advancement Funds. This grant also targets the high-demand industries of Indiana’s economy.
Applications for both grants are available at NextLevelJobs.org.
Indiana, which currently has about 95,000 job openings around the state, is close to a record low unemployment rate at 3 percent. The all-time low was 2.9 in October 2000. The state’s unemployment reached a high of 10.9 percent during the last recession.
Cameron Mattern is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.