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Indiana is Making Real Gains in Workforce Preparation

As we head into the home stretch of 2018 and policymakers look toward the 2019 legislative session, I wanted to provide you a snapshot of the gains we are making and the improved outcomes and efficiencies we are seeing under Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs program.

We all recognize a high school diploma just isn’t good enough anymore and striving toward our 2025 statewide goal of 60% of Hoosiers having a marketable, high-value credential after high school is going to take even smarter, more targeted investments in our people to ensure no one is left behind. That’s what Next Level Jobs is all about! The good news is that we are already seeing some results from our efforts.  I have highlighted some of them below.

Real Gains in the Right Direction:

  •         Indiana’s post high school credential attainment rate now stands at 43.4%, up from 41% from 2016-2017 and nearly doubled the national growth average over that time.
  •         Among younger Hoosiers between 25-44 years old, that rate grew 2.1% vs the national average of .8%.
  •         Over the last 3 years, Indiana’s overall rate has jumped 2.6%, once again outpacing the 2% national average.
  •         The rate of Hoosiers with a STEM-related bachelor’s degree grew 8%, while overall bachelor’s degree attainment grew 4.3%.


To keep our foot on the gas, we have diverted existing funding to efforts that are moving the needle:

  •         More than 10,000 Hoosiers enrolled in high-wage, high-demand Workforce Ready Grant programs at Ivy Tech, Vincennes, or local training providers.
  •         More than 450 Hoosier employers training nearly 7,000 workers under the Employer Training Grant Program.
  •         More than 17,000 active apprenticeships across Indiana and an Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeships developing earn & learn pipelines between students and employers in county after county.
  •         Nearly 1,000 State prison inmates receiving high-value certificates in coding, welding, and more – well ahead of the Governor’s 2020 goal.


Finally, overall opportunities for Hoosier workers seeking employment remains high and real wages nationally are on the rise!

  •         Indiana’s unemployment rate is at 3.5%, better than the national average of 3.7%.
  •         5 of the 6 Midwest Metro Areas that demonstrated at least 3% employment growth over the last year were in Indiana! The other, in Illinois, is along the Indiana-Illinois border.
  •         Indiana’s Labor Force Participation remains higher than the national average, 65.1% vs 62.9%. The labor force has increased 79,677 over the last year.


These are great positive trends, no doubt, but we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goals. As legislators prepare for another important session, I want to thank them for the bipartisan work already done in trying to accomplish our common goal – a learning system that meets people where they are, gets every child off to a strong start, puts every student on a path to adult success, gives every adult access to training that matches the jobs of today and tomorrow, and gives Hoosier employers tools to recruit, train, and retain the talent they need.  I look forward to continuing the progress.

Danny Lopez, Chairman, Governor’s Workforce Cabinet