Taking Employee Skills to the ‘Next Level’

Over the next decade, more than one million jobs must be filled in Indiana. Governor Holcomb recently announced enhancements to the Employer Training Grant component of the Next Level Jobs initiative, which prepares Hoosiers for positions in high-demand industry sectors.

What’s different? As of May 1, the reimbursement amount per new employee jumped from $2,500 to $5,000. The cap per employer also doubled – from $25,000 to $50,000.

Where does training take place? In-house or from an external provider.

What types of businesses are covered by the Employer Training Grant? Six industries are featured:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Building and Construction
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology and Business Services
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Agriculture

Since its inception to 2017, nearly 600 applications have been received. More than $5.2 million in training funds have been obligated.

BizVoice Ad BOGO for Small Businesses

Everyone loves a good bargain; and we’ve got one for you, but it’s a limited-time offer and expires after next Friday, May 25.

As part of our Small Business Showcase, organizations with 50 or fewer employees can take advantage of the buy one, get one free quarter-page advertising special for the two BizVoice® summer issues. The quarter-page investment (just $1,020) includes the print and digital versions of both issues.

“While the number of businesses advertising in BizVoice continues to grow each year, we want to make sure companies of all sizes have the ability to reach our influential audiences,” states Tim Brewer, BizVoice Advertising Director. “Helping businesses grow has been at the core of the Indiana Chamber’s mission throughout its history.”

To take advantage of this offer, contact Brewer – tbrewer@indianachamber.com, (317) 496-0704 – by Friday, May 25. The July/August issue ad will be invoiced in July for $1,020, and the September/October issue is free.

Connect your small business with the Indiana Chamber audience!

Indiana Chamber, Ivy Tech Announce Exclusive Partnership to Aid Workforce Needs

Many Hoosiers looking for a jumpstart to begin or finish their postsecondary education now have a new opportunity through their employers. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Ivy Tech Community College in the Achieve Your Degree program to provide discounted tuition exclusively for Indiana Chamber member companies and their full-time employees.

A 5% discount will apply to a company’s existing or future tuition assistance program, as well as to employees who finance their own education. For convenience, payment is deferred and one invoice is sent at the end of each term that reflects tuition fees after any financial aid has been deducted.

The Indiana Chamber is the state’s largest business advocacy and information organization, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes across the state.

“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t hear from our members about workforce gaps they are experiencing. We encourage them to take advantage of this program and promote it internally. It’s a good approach to upskilling the workforce and addressing their own company’s needs,” explains Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. “And by investing in employees, companies build loyalty and that ultimately helps with retention efforts.”

While thousands of organizations across the state are active members of the Indiana Chamber, Brinegar expects this partnership to entice others, saying the investment to join the organization “will be more than offset by the thousands of dollars a business could save annually on tuition costs.”

Ivy Tech Community College, which has more than 40 locations throughout the state, is the largest public postsecondary institution in Indiana. Ivy Tech started the Achieve Your Degree program in 2016.

What can’t be stressed enough, says Ivy Tech Community College President Sue Ellspermann, is how customizable and convenient Achieve Your Degree is.

“Ivy Tech will come directly to your worksite and sit down with management and employees to run through the options and listen to what your individual needs are. We’ll connect employees with the specified courses they need to complete their certificate or degree and meet the job demands of the employer. We can also start at the very beginning and help design a tuition assistance policy if a company doesn’t have one.”

Employees can take a combination of online and on-campus coursework that fits their busy schedules.

Ivy Tech Community College provides support throughout the process, assigning a liaison to help coordinate the effort. Assistance with admissions and financial aid applications, plus student advising and tutoring, are all part of the service. Employers also receive marketing materials to help inform employees about the program.

Brinegar believes one key differentiator of Achieve Your Degree can’t be overstated.

“This is not a traditional tuition reimbursement plan and that’s huge. Large upfront costs have proven to be the big stumbling block in employees taking advantage of any continuing education programs their employers may offer.”

Cook Group, headquartered in Bloomington, experienced that firsthand and redesigned its own program so employees didn’t have to wait for reimbursement. Cook Group President Pete Yonkman reported to the Indiana Chamber last year that the company saw an 800% participation increase in its tuition support program, jumping from 50 to 450 employees.

It will take major strides like these to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow and get more people engaged in completing their education, Ellspermann offers.

“We know there are more than half a million people in this state that started college, but life got in the way of finishing it. Further, another million Hoosier workers never pursued college. We believe Achieve Your Degree and the partnership with the Indiana Chamber will entice many Hoosiers to get the certificate or degree that will provide them a brighter future and bolster the state’s workforce.”

Companies can learn more about this exclusive Achieve Your Degree partnership through the Indiana Chamber at www.indianachamber.com/achieve; Ivy Tech explains the entire program at www.ivytech.edu/achieveyourdegree.

Indiana Chamber Unveils Rankings for the 125 Best Places to Work in Indiana

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce honored a record 125 companies tonight at the 2018 Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration dinner, with rankings announced in four categories.

Taking the top spot:

  • Hanapin Marketing, a Bloomington-based digital marketing company – small category (between 15 and 74 U.S. employees)
  • E-gineering, a technology consulting firm on the northeast side of Indianapolis – medium category (between 75 and 249 U.S. employees)
  • Blue 449, an open source media company from Indianapolis – large category (between 250 and 999 U.S. employees)
  • Edward Jones, an investment firm with branch offices throughout the state – major category (1,000 or more U.S. employees)

It’s Hanapin Marketing’s first-place debut, while Blue 449 is a repeat honoree from last year. E-gineering and Edward Jones are no strangers to No. 1; they last took top honors in 2015 and this marks the third and fifth time, respectively, in leading their category.

“These four companies are the gold standard for creating a successful culture in which employees can thrive. Company leaders particularly understand the importance today of work-life balance, treating workers with respect and offering benefits or perks that really resonate,” states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

“Attracting and keeping a talented workforce is top of mind for all Hoosier employers. Every company on the list made people the priority in its workplace, backing that up with policies and practices geared toward employee success and satisfaction.”

The companies received the Best Places to Work award of excellence at a dinner held at the Indiana Convention Center and sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

Winning companies ranged in employee count (at the time of application) from 16 to more than 1,700. Out-of-state parent companies were eligible to participate if at least 15 full-time employees are in Indiana.

Organizations that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 13-year history are also awarded Best Places to Work in Indiana Hall of Fame and Pinnacle designations.

Hall of Fame companies are those that have been named a Best Place to Work in Indiana at least 60% of the time in the program’s history; a total of 20 organizations on the 2018 list meet that criteria. Two companies – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list all 13 years of the program.

The Pinnacle designation is reserved for those that have finished first in their category three or more times in a five-year period. The four Pinnacle companies in the program’s history are: Edward Jones, Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C., Microsoft and Sikich.

More information about the Best Places to Work companies is available via a special section of the May/June issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine, a statewide publication released tonight and accessible online at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Other program partners are Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the Best Companies Group, HR Indiana SHRM and the Wellness Council of Indiana.

In addition to Ivy Tech Community College being the event sponsor, Purdue Global is the spirit sponsor and FirstPerson is the opening reception sponsor. Platinum sponsors are CareSource and Moser Consulting. Silver sponsors are Comcast, Eaton Corporation, Formstack, Human Capital Concepts, OurHealth, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and Smithville. Visibility sponsors are Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc., Delta Dental of Indiana and ESCO Communications, Inc.

These top companies in the state were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 25 other states.

All companies participating in the 2018 Best Places to Work program receive an in-depth evaluation identifying strengths and weaknesses according to their employees, who are surveyed anonymously.

The report is often used in developing or enhancing employee retention and recruitment programs.

For more information on the Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

The full list of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies by ranking:

*Hall of Fame companies
**Pinnacle companies

Small Companies (15-74 U.S. employees) (57)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

  1. Hanapin Marketing / Bloomington
  2. Sharpen Technologies Inc. / Indianapolis
  3. eimagine / Indianapolis
  4. That’s Good HR / Indianapolis
  5. Big City Cars / Fort Wayne
  6. University High School of Indiana / Carmel
  7. Lakeside Wealth Management / Chesterton
  8. * Cripe / Indianapolis
  9. * Indesign, LLC / Indianapolis
  10. Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) / Indianapolis
  11. * Apex Benefits / Indianapolis
  12. Leaf Software Solutions / Carmel
  13. Visit Indy / Indianapolis
  14. Magnum Logistics / Plainfield
  15. mAccounting, LLC / Indianapolis
  16. Wessler Engineering / Indianapolis
  17. Goelzer Investment Management, Inc. / Indianapolis
  18. T&W Corporation / Indianapolis
  19. The Garrett Companies / Greenwood
  20. * FirstPerson / Indianapolis
  21. JA Benefits, LLC / Bedford
  22. Insurance Management Group / Marion
  23. Probo Medical / Fishers
  24. Jackson Systems / Indianapolis
  25. RQAW / Indianapolis
  26. LHD Benefit Advisors / Indianapolis
  27. OfficeWorks / Fishers
  28. Peepers by PeeperSpecs / Michigan City
  29. The Skillman Corporation / Indianapolis
  30. Community First Bank of Indiana / Kokomo
  31. BlueSky Technology Partners / Noblesville
  32. CleanSlate Technology Group / Carmel
  33. Hamilton County Tourism / Carmel
  34. Clinical Architecture / Carmel
  35. Brite Systems / Indianapolis
  36. Greenlight Guru / Indianapolis
  37. DK Pierce and Associates / Zionsville
  38. Guidon Design / Indianapolis
  39. Nix Companies / Poseyville
  40. BLASTmedia / Fishers
  41. Accutech Systems / Muncie
  42. Pondurance / Indianapolis
  43. Sigstr / Indianapolis
  44. Grote Automotive / Fort Wayne
  45. VOSS Automotive / Fort Wayne
  46. Merritt Contracting / Lebanon
  47. netlogx LLC / Indianapolis
  48. General Insurance Services / Michigan City
  49. Bloomerang / Indianapolis
  50. Inovateus Solar LLC / South Bend
  51. Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc. / Indianapolis
  52. Springbuk / Indianapolis
  53. ClearObject, Inc. / Fishers
  54. OrthoPediatrics / Warsaw
  55. CENTURY 21 Scheetz / Multiple locations
  56. Public Safety Medical / Indianapolis
  57. RESOURCE Commercial Real Estate / Indianapolis

Medium Companies (75-249 U.S. employees) (30)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

  1. * E-gineering / Indianapolis
  2. Formstack / Indianapolis
  3. Oak Street Funding LLC / Indianapolis
  4. Moser Consulting / Indianapolis
  5. Blue Horseshoe / Carmel
  6. Gregory & Appel Insurance / Indianapolis
  7. American College of Education / Indianapolis
  8. First Internet Bank / Fishers
  9. Lessonly / Indianapolis
  10. Emarsys North America / Indianapolis
  11. * Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) / Carmel
  12. Weddle Bros. Construction Co., Inc. / Bloomington
  13. J.C. Hart Company, Inc. / Carmel
  14. HWC Engineering, Inc. / Indianapolis
  15. CREA, LLC / Indianapolis
  16. Visiting Nurse and Hospice of the Wabash Valley / Terre Haute
  17. * Schmidt Associates, Inc. / Indianapolis
  18. Parkview Wabash Hospital / Wabash
  19. IDSolutions / Noblesville
  20. * Elements Financial Federal Credit Union / Indianapolis
  21. Midwest Mole / Greenfield
  22. Peoples Bank SB / Munster
  23. Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc. / Indianapolis
  24. Morales Group, Inc. / Indianapolis
  25. * United Consulting Engineers / Indianapolis
  26. United Way of Central Indiana / Indianapolis
  27. ESCO Communications / Indianapolis
  28. Merchants Bank of Indiana and PR Mortgage & Investments / Carmel
  29. Fort Wayne Rescue Mission Ministries, Inc (DBA The Rescue Mission) / Fort Wayne
  30. Envelop Group / Indianapolis

Large Companies (250-999 U.S. employees) (25)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

  1. Blue 449 / Indianapolis
  2. Kemper CPA Group LLP / Multiple locations
  3. Onebridge / Indianapolis
  4. ** Sikich / Indianapolis
  5. Hylant / Multiple locations
  6. * FORUM Credit Union / Fishers
  7. The Kendall Group / Fort Wayne
  8. * Katz, Sapper & Miller / Indianapolis
  9. IPMG / West Lafayette
  10. Appirio, A Wipro Company / Indianapolis
  11. * Centier Bank / Merrillville
  12. * WestPoint Financial Group / Indianapolis
  13. Carbonite / Indianapolis
  14. Parkview Whitley Hospital / Columbia City
  15. * Blue & Co., LLC / Carmel
  16. Parkview Noble Hospital / Kendallville
  17. * Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company / Fort Wayne
  18. American Structurepoint, Inc. / Indianapolis
  19. Bastian Solutions / Indianapolis
  20. Parkview Huntington Hospital / Huntington
  21. MutualBank / Muncie
  22. Ontario Systems / Muncie
  23. Aluminum Trailer Company / Nappanee
  24. Pacers Sports & Entertainment / Indianapolis
  25. * Monarch Beverage / Indianapolis

Major Companies (1,000+ U.S. employees) (13)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

  1. * ** Edward Jones / Statewide
  2. * Horseshoe Casino Hammond / Hammond
  3. * Salesforce / Indianapolis
  4. Aerotek / Multiple locations
  5. CareSource / Indianapolis
  6. Ameristar Casino + Hotel East Chicago / East Chicago
  7. Total Quality Logistics / Indianapolis
  8. Perficient / Carmel
  9. Colliers International – Indianapolis / Indianapolis
  10. Kronos Incorporated / Indianapolis
  11. Comcast Corporation / Multiple locations
  12. First Merchants Bank / Muncie
  13. * Capital Group / Carmel

Getting to Know: Marci Price

The Indiana Chamber Foundation has been making a difference for Indiana employers and beyond for more than 30 years. In addition to the Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 initiative, the Foundation’s studies, surveys and programs provide the information and resources to enhance the state’s business and workplace climates.

Marci Price brings her talents and experience to the Foundation as the new executive director. Get to know Marci in this brief Q&A:

Tell us a little about your background.

“I have been a development professional for the past 15 years, focusing on individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy for regional and national organizations. After earning my master’s degree in nonprofit management from IUPUI, I lived in Chicago for several years.

“My husband and I then decided to settle down in Indianapolis to be closer to family. I have since fallen in love with Indiana and have built strong relationships with so many incredible people here.”

What was one of your favorite previous jobs and why?

“One of my favorite positions was at Feeding America, where I developed partnerships with private foundations to support national hunger relief efforts. I truly enjoyed dedicating my talents to improve food security for vulnerable populations throughout the country. It’s an area of great passion for me, and I continue that service as a volunteer for Gleaners Food Bank.”

What attracted you to join the Indiana Chamber team to lead the Foundation efforts?

“Having worked for higher education and human services organizations for several years, I have become acutely aware of the role that research plays in informing solutions to broad societal problems, as well as the role that good public policy plays in developing and sustaining those solutions.

“The Indiana Chamber Foundation has a great reputation for securing research that has led to impactful change through Indiana Vision 2025, and I’m excited to dedicate my time and effort in a way that will support continued economic growth for Indiana’s future.”

What’s one of the most important skills in your role?

“One of the keys in my role is the ability to listen and communicate with diverse audiences. The best partnerships are built on trust and a shared vision for what is possible.”

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

“I try to spend as much time as possible with my husband and two young children. I love exercise and do my best thinking on long runs. I also enjoy going out with friends and listening to live music.”

If you could have dinner and conversation with any one person, who would it be and why?

“I would love to have a chance to have dinner with Michelle Obama. She is such a captivating and strong female leader, who leveraged her challenging position to inspire people to action.  It would be a true honor to spend time with and to learn from her.”

Tech Talk: A great IDEA in South Bend Region

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg participated recently in the granddaddy of idea-sharing events – South by Southwest, now more popularly known as SXSW, in Austin, Texas. Later this month, people will come to the South Bend-Elkhart region for a similar-themed showcase in IDEA Week 2018.

The IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame is the lead organizer with a wide variety of partners. Between April 20-29, more than 30 activities (programs and entertainment) will take place. Innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization are the primary themes.

A few of the highlights:

  • National presenters such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Shark Tank’s Daymond John and Tony Award winner Patti LuPone
  • Venture competition, TEDx program and start-up showcase
  • Entertainment in the form of concerts (The Chainsmokers), comedians (Gabriel Iglesias) and more

Various Notre Dame venues, as well as sites throughout the region, will serve as hosts. That is important as regional cooperation has been taken to a new level in recent years.

The mission of IDEA Week 2018 is twofold: Celebrate ongoing/developing successes (Notre Dame, technology park developments, recreational vehicle industry prowess to list just a few) and provide knowledge and inspiration for entrepreneurs, students and others in the community to build the next big thing.

Rich Carlton of Data Realty touched on the momentum in the region during this recent EchoChamber podcast. We’ve shared more than a few business success stories from the area in BizVoice® magazine: sidebar on Ignition Park here and focus on Goshen as 2017 Community of the Year to name two.

Kudos to all involved in developing this first-time event. Telling our story, in northern Indiana and throughout the state, is critical.

Indiana Chamber, Wellness Council Leading the Way for Employers on Battling Opioid Epidemic

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to “cultivate a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.” And as an organization that partners with 25,000 members and investors (representing over four million Hoosiers), we’re well-suited to lead on critical topics to employers and employees in the state.

That’s why the Indiana Chamber and the Wellness Council of Indiana are joining forces with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, one of the most challenging and devastating issues of our time.

The Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative, announced today to the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, is being convened to educate and guide employers to:

  • offer health benefits that provide coverage for substance abuse disorders;
  • expand drug testing to include prescription drugs;
  • provide effective employee assistance, wellness and work-life programs that include information and services related to substances abuse prevention, treatment and return to work issues; and
  • train managers to recognize and respond to substance abuse issues.

“The workplace has long been a provider of the resources and support that help Hoosiers enhance their quality of life,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Today, employers can and need to be part of the solution to this epidemic. By bringing together the required resources, our goal is to help deliver the information and training to help them do just that.”

Jennifer Pferrer and Kevin Brinegar announce the initiative.

Specific programs will be unveiled as they are developed. Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council of Indiana (part of the Indiana Chamber since 2011) will lead the combined effort of the two organizations.

Gov. Holcomb has made attacking the drug epidemic one of the five pillars of his agenda.

“The effects of Indiana’s opioid epidemic are far-reaching and devastating to individual Hoosiers, families, communities and our economy,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It will take all of us working together to slow down and reverse this addiction crisis. I commend the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana for joining forces to launch this new initiative that will help our state’s employers, who are directly impacted by the opioid epidemic.”

Find the full press release here and a fact sheet on the workforce impacts of the epidemic at www.indianachamber.com/opioids. Follow us on social media for updates and more information about the initiative.

100+ Business Leaders Going to D.C. This Week for Chamber Fly-in

A record group of more than 100 of the state’s top business leaders and government affairs executives will be attending the Indiana Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in on September 27 and 28. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with a potential health care reform vote, rollout of a tax reform plan and the end of the fiscal year all taking place.

This year, legislative briefings will be conducted by congressional members, who will be highlighting key public policy areas that line up with their committee assignments and expertise:

  • Tax reform – Indiana 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski
  • Regulatory reform – Indiana 9th District U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth
  • Health care reform – Indiana 8th District U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon
  • Infrastructure and transportation policy – Indiana 4th District U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita
  • Education policy – Indiana 6th District U.S. Rep. Luke Messer

There is still time to register for the D.C. Fly-in; go to www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @IndianaChamber or #ICCinDC for up-to-the-minute important information on what’s happening in Washington.

Zimmer Biomet is the Fly-in’s dinner sponsor. Allegion is the cocktail reception sponsor. Build Indiana Council is the legislative briefing sponsor.

Event sponsors are AT&T, The Boeing Company, Duke Energy, The Kroger Co., Old National Bank and Wabash Valley Power.

Pres. Brinegar Offers Chamber’s Reaction to State Budget Deal

Earlier today, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Indiana Senate President David Long announced a deal had been reached on House Bill 1001, the two-year state budget. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar reacts to the budget provisions:

"The new state budget has a strong focus on jobs and economic growth, putting additional investments into education and workforce development while also making important tax cuts.

"Trimming the individual income tax rate by 5% will not only benefit working Hoosiers but also many of the state's smallest business owners.

"It was particularly important to see some K-12 funding restored (cut during the last budget process) and more dollars targeted for our highways and infrastructure system.

"Meanwhile, the immediate elimination of the inheritance tax is long overdue and will lift a significant burden off of small, family-owned businesses.

"We commend House and Senate leaders, the governor's office and all those who got the budget to where it is — fiscally sound and including a wide variety of positive provisions for Hoosiers."

Facts Ignored, Politics Winning on Common Core

Two moms from Indianapolis, a handful of their friends and a couple dozen small but vocal Tea Party groups. That’s the entire Indiana movement that is advocating for a halt to the Common Core State Standards. No educational backgrounds. No track record of supporting education reforms or any other past education issues. And worst of all: A demonstrated willingness to say just about anything, no matter how unsubstantiated or blatantly false, to advocate their cause.

Meanwhile, the policy that they are attacking was implemented by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, then State Superintendent Tony Bennett, the Indiana Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education. To date, 45 other states have also adopted it. Common Core has been supported by superintendents, school boards, Indiana’s Catholic and other private schools, principals, teachers unions, the Indiana PTA, various education reform groups, higher education and more. The business community is actively engaged, including strong support from the Indiana Chamber, Eli Lilly, Cummins, Dow AgroSciences, IU Health and many others.

Given that lineup, to whom would you expect the Legislature to be listening? Amazingly, for many in both the House and Senate Republican caucuses, it’s the former and not the latter. Few legislators know anything about Common Core other than the rhetoric that has been thrown at them. Yet, it appears that a majority of Republican legislators are willing to heed those calls, to ignore the more thorough reviews and judgment of individuals and groups that have led on education issues and to throw out two years of implementation that have been underway at schools throughout the state.