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home : columnists : rep. kathy kreag richardson October 19, 2017

8/28/2017 10:04:00 AM
Next Level Jobs initiative helps Hoosier job seekers, employers

By Kathy Kreag Richardson
Indiana State Representative, District 29

Indiana's unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation at 3.1 percent. To continue our positive economic momentum, working-age adults in the state need to be prepared to meet the increased demands of employers that are locating here and expanding operations. With the recently launched Next Level Jobs initiative, Hoosiers now have access to new resources to secure advanced and better-paying jobs, and employers in the state have additional tools to help them fill positions in high-demand fields.

According to the Department of Workforce Development, 1 million job openings are expected in Indiana by 2025 and, of those, about 400,000 will be in high-wage, high-need fields. These industries include advanced manufacturing, agriculture, building and construction, health and life sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.

To help Hoosiers gain the skills needed to fill these positions, Workforce Ready Grants are available through the Next Level Jobs initiative. While a two- or four-year degree isn't for everyone, Workforce Ready Grants cover the costs of tuition for working adults earning a high-value certificate at Ivy Tech or Vincennes University.

Many Hoosiers want to learn and gain new skills needed to obtain better-paying positions, but they are already holding down a full-time job, paying bills and taking care of their families. With Workforce Ready Grants, which I voted in favor of establishing, busy adults can benefit from having their costs of tuition covered, removing some of the financial hurdles that could be holding them back from acquiring the skills and training needed to secure higher-salaried jobs.

To help employers train and retain workers in the industries requiring advanced skills, the new Employer Training Grant offers up to $2,500 per new employee to qualifying companies. Over the next two years, these grant programs will provide about $20 million to help Hoosier workers and employers meet workforce demands. Information about Workforce Ready Grants and Employer Training Grants can be found online at nextleveljobs.org. This new website is an additional feature of the Next Level Jobs initiative, offering individualized training tools and information about current and projected job openings.

Whether a job seeker or employer, resources provided under the Next Level Jobs initiative can help you succeed in the 21st Century economy. Please visit nextleveljobs.org to explore what the state offers to support training efforts and learn more about the tools available to better prepare Hoosiers to fill the jobs available today and in the years to come.

Kathy Kreag Richardson is a Republican State Representative from District 29, which includes Noblesville, and has served in the legislature since 1992. She also is the elections administrator for Hamilton County. You may contact her at h29@in.gov.

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