Indiana Workforce Success Story: Skill UP Indiana! Grants
By Kara Kavensky
INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2017) –
Indiana needs to
fill more than one million jobs over the course of the next ten years. In order to
meet that demand of Indiana’s workforce, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development
created the Skill UP Indiana! grant program in 2015. Since its modest start two
years ago, nearly $19 million in grant funding has been provided to support
community partnerships in developing youth and adult education and
training opportunities aligning with employer needs. Awarded programs
equip Hoosiers with specific skills necessary to fill many of these jobs.
employers, industry and education on the skills gap, the Skill UP grant
program is an exemplary model of how career and technical education can help
train and educate our workforce by bridging this gap. In addition to the $19
million invested through DWD Skill UP grants, $11 million in privately matched
funds illustrates the level of commitment through the investment from the
of Central Indiana JobSpark
With the motto: “Hands
on. Minds open,” Junior Achievement of Central Indiana created an ambitious
two-day event, transforming much of the Indiana State Fairgrounds into the
largest-scale career fair in state history. More than 7,000 students from 40
schools participated, enabled by 115 area businesses and 3,000 volunteers who
successfully engaged 7th and 8th graders from across Marion County with
exposure to 8 different career clusters consisting of 100 different hands-on
co-chair Sherrie Bossung, Director, Community Engagement & Vice President,
Lilly Foundation states, “The kids were engaged and the volunteers were super.
Our metrics after the 2-day event were encouraging.
“There is tremendous need and opportunity to bring the community
together in support of inspiring and empowering our young people to own their
own future success,” said Jennifer Burk, President and CEO of Junior
Achievement of Central Indiana. “This community-wide effort was a highly
impactful, long-term, self-sustaining effort to help improve Indiana’s
Academy is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of mobile, web, and
professional courses through immersive learning at subsidized rates, made
possible through partnerships, corporate and individual donations. The DWD
Skill UP grant of $635,000, with private matching of $159,250, was used towards
creating and implementing and improving their apprentice program and included
adding an outreach element enabling 25 underserved Indiana communities to
experience a Cool Coding Awareness Week.
The mission of
Eleven Fifty Academy is to build an ecosystem of coding talent that benefits
the individual, their employer and their community. The Skill UP! grant enabled
140 statewide students moving through the apprenticeship program, with 80% of
these students securing full-time employment.
the Skill UP! grant, Eleven Fifty Academy was able to serve 25 communities,
inspiring 23,000 K-12 students,” states EFA President John Qualls.
over 80 percent of our students into jobs, raising their income by more than $1
million per student, on average, over their lifetime,” says Qualls. “In fact,
with the direct $600,000 investment from the Indiana Department of Workforce
Development’s SkillUP! grant, which provided a 166 percent return on investment for
the state, we have generated $2.2 million in income tax revenue over 10 years.
That’s a 667 percent ROI over 10 years!”
Blackford Manufacturing Alliance
The Jay -
Blackford Manufacturing Alliance received a Skill UP! grant of $924,500 to
build and facilitate an Industrial Maintenance Training program serving their
region. The Skill Up grant is facilitating a need for area advanced
manufacturing. Private matching funds of $2,335,352 are indicative of the
demand for this service. Industry partners include FCC-Indiana, Ft. Recovery
Industries, Poet Bio Refining, Sonoco, TLS-By Design, Penville Custom Cabinets,
Tyson Original, NPR, QEP, 3M, Petosky Plastics, Stanley and Tru-Form Steel.
Industrial Maintenance Training will begin in the fall, with the majority of
the grant money having gone towards purchasing of necessary equipment, along
with building the curriculum. The training will be used to prepare individuals
for jobs in manufacturing around the needed knowledge, skills, and abilities
identified by their regional partners for employability, technical skills, and
creating work-and-learn opportunities for youth and adult learners leading to
direct employment and improved wages. The employers play a direct role in
creating the program skills and training that is offered.
sustainable regional training center is a vital help given the limited
opportunities available in our area,” says Rusty Inman, Executive Director of
the John Jay Center for Learning. “We look to be a leader with this service by
attracting candidates across area counties, and serving both students and
Assistant Senior Manager of Human Resources for Subaru of Indiana Automotive,
Inc. Over the past 25 years, he’s worked his way up within SIA, which today
employs 5,600 of the 17,000 manufacturing jobs in Tippecanoe County. As a high
school student, Rhorer spent as much time as he could in shop class. He loved
cars and went to work with SIA right after graduating from high school.
mid-90s, Purdue University opened a small campus on-site at SIA and Rhorer was
encouraged by his leadership to go back to school. The result was a 4-year
degree in Organizational Leadership - paid for by his employer. Rhorer then
earned another degree in Human Resource Management.
In order to
continue professional development and growth for potential employees, SIA
created RAMP, a 4-week program to introduce candidates to basic manufacturing
skills, problem solving, trouble shooting, OSHA training, understanding supply
chain, and quality assurance. At the completion of the 4-week introductory course,
participants earn a completion certificate from Purdue University. While this
course was helpful, more needed to be done in order to provide a smoother
transition to the workforce for the RAMP candidates. SIA then applied for a
Skill UP grant.
The Skill UP
grant funds a 5-week internship with manufacturers such as Wabash National,
Caterpillar, Kirby Risk, Heartland Automotive, and of course, SIA. The results
have been promising. With the goal of 450 people trained, 422 have gone through
the program thus far, with 88 percent currently employed after successfully completing
the internship phase.
Workforce Development offers assistance through their life coaches with the
WorkOne office to help workers think through their challenges, decision-making,
and provides any needed support services,” says Rhorer. “We have seen a 25%
reduction of our attrition rate since implementing the program. This is a drastic
reduction in turnover.”
It is the
targeted training provided by Skill UP that is making the difference.
“The biggest reason why I personally enjoy working with DWD’s Skill UP
grant is that it pulls the community together,” states Rhorer. “We all have similar needs, and if we
work collectively, it will have a much stronger impact.”
With a $2.2 million
state investment, individuals with a minimum education requirement of a high
school diploma can earn $14/hour to $25/hour by participating in such programs.
With 2,000 to 2,500 high school seniors graduating each year in Tippecanoe County, manufacturing
jobs are receiving more than a second glance, especially given that 35 percent of the
county’s workforce is currently eligible for retirement.
DWD Skill Up grant program is delivering on a much-needed gap in Indiana’s
workforce. By providing the necessary exposure to careers, skills and training,
employers are requiring, Skill UP is elevating Hoosiers across the state into
more skilled and higher paying positions than ever before. For more information on Skill UP Indiana!,
please visit: https://secure.in.gov/dwd/skillup.htm
Kara Kavensky is a
freelance writer based in Fishers, Indiana.
For additional information, contact:
Kayli Schroeder, 317-232-7358, email@example.com