Preparing Our Workforce
Indiana may be "The Crossroads of America," but without a skilled workforce, it will be difficult to maintain and expand the state's advanced manufacturing and logistics leadership position.
The retirement of the Baby Boomer generation will create thousands of job openings in these industries in coming years, while growth in cutting-edge areas like alternative energy, green vehicles, nanotechnology and aerospace will continue to create new career opportunities. But these positions demand high-tech skills: A recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) shows that 80 percent of manufacturers cite "finding qualified workers" as a top concern.
While a high school diploma isn't enough preparation for these high-tech jobs, success doesn't hinge solely on a four-year bachelor's degree, either. Nationally, this phenomenon was featured on NBC Nightly News, which focused on advanced manufacturing's need for an "up-skilled" workforce. Half of all U.S. jobs today are considered "middle-skill," and one of every two new jobs will fall into this category over the next five years. In Indiana alone, middle-skill jobs dominate Indiana's job mix today and will continue to do so.
Conexus Indiana and its regional partners, EcO15, WorkOne Southwest, Center of Workforce Innovations and Partners for Workforce Solutions have come together to create and promote three initiatives that will help Indiana's workforce up-skill to meet today's workforce needs.
A New High School Curriculum: Hire Technology: Hoosier students need to have access to the right advanced manufacturing and logistics education. The Hire Technology Curriculum, designed to increase student engagement and interest in Indiana's largest industry, arms students with the problem-solving, communication, and industry-specific training needed to succeed in today's technology-driven industry.
| ||Dream It. Do It. Indiana Champion Program: To help students better understand these industries and the careers available in them, Conexus and its regional partners have recruited high school educators to serve as "Champions." Champions are educators and administrators who work within high schools to raise student awareness through field trips, career fairs, presentations, etc., and help students understand where they can get the post-secondary education industry demands. Right now, more than 100 schools and career centers across the state are participating in the Dream It. Do It. Indiana Champion program.|
|Conexus A+ Partners: Getting high schools on board is a great first step, but they can’t do it alone. Industry must step up to the plate by helping students understand the sector, making their needs known, and highlighting the great career opportunities they can provide to Hoosier families. That’s why Conexus is working to match each Dream It. Do It. Champion High School with a AML company in their community. These companies serve as “A+ Partners,” providing schools with industry access, advice, and advocacy. There are currently more than 70 active A+ Partner companies working with high schools and students across the state.|
Three of every four manufacturing job openings over the next few years will come through retirement or attrition, with the average age of the Hoosier manufacturing workforce hovering above 50.
Indiana currently ranks 35th in the number of adults holding an associate's degree, the group most likely to succeed in advanced manufacturing and logistics jobs.
Indiana ranks 29th in percentage of workforce with a high school diploma and 42nd in college educated workers.
It would take 17 years worth of high school graduates to make up for the projected retirements in the next 5 to 7 years.