Time for Work Share to Happen in Indiana

Work share is a positive option for both companies and their employees in times of economic need. It is a voluntary program that allows employers to maintain a skilled and stable workforce during temporary economic downturns.

Here’s an example of how it works. Instead of laying off 10 workers due to decreased demand, a company could keep the full workforce in place but reduce the hours of 40 workers by 25%. The impacted employees would receive three-quarters of their normal salary, as well as be eligible for partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their reduced paycheck.

Just like regular unemployment insurance, work sharing benefits would not fully cover lost income. They would, however, help mitigate the loss.

There is no negative impact on the state’s unemployment insurance fund.

Work share programs are in place in more than 25 states. They are intended as temporary solutions, usually lasting no more than six months. The biggest users are manufacturers, where work flow often varies based on current contracts.

Neighboring Michigan and Ohio passed legislation that authorized work share programs. Indiana failed to do so the last two years, despite support in both political parties. Let’s finally make it happen in 2015.

Toy With Me: Holiday Toy Crazes are Gone but Not Forgotten

TWhat was your favorite childhood toy?

Mine was the Barbie doll. For hours at a time, I transformed my bedroom into an imaginary world. Strategically placed atop my carpet were Barbie’s favorite hangouts such as the beachside hot dog stand, ice cream shop, pool and glamourous dream house.

Each Christmas, I eagerly (and sometimes not so patiently) anticipated which coveted Barbie toys I would receive as gifts. During Christmas 1983, I added another item to my wish list: a Cabbage Patch Kids doll. That was the year of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. Parents braved crowded department stores – and brawls even ensued – as the supply dwindled. My mom was at a department store and had just picked up a doll when a man reached down and literally grabbed it out of her hands. The nerve! I hope Santa left him coal in his stocking. Every year, there’s a holiday craze that defines a generation.

Check out this photo gallery, which illustrates 12 must-have toys over the past 80 years. What did the popular Shirley Temple doll cost in 1934? How much is Teddy Ruxpin, a huge hit in 1985, worth today? Channel your inner child and find out!

INVESTIndiana Returns Sept. 23

Leading Indiana companies will participate in the fourth INVESTIndiana Equity Conference on September 23 at the Conrad Indianapolis.

Fund managers, analysts and institutional investors are primary attendees, with the event open to others in the business community. An Executive Roundtable opens the day. The keynote speaker is William Testa of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Twelve companies, including six financial institutions, are scheduled to make presentations.

They cover the state, including 1st Source Corporation (South Bend), Escalade (Evansville), Hillenbrand (Batesville) and nine others. Full information and registration is available online.

‘Indiana Competitiveness: What Works’ Event Set for Sept. 15 in Lafayette

Ivy Tech’s Lafayette campus will host Indiana Competitiveness: What Works on Monday, Sept. 15. The event, hosted by GE and Ivy Tech, will feature remarks from Rep. Todd Rokita and a keynote address from a senior leader at GE.

Additionally, there will be a panel discussion and networking opportunities for supply chain leaders and current and prospective suppliers. Speakers will discuss the state of manufacturing in Indiana and how it can be enhanced to compete in a global economy. Rep. Susan Brooks will also be in attendance and other members of Congress have been invited.

Details:
When: Monday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: 3101 S. Creasy Lane in Lafayette
RSVP: If you plan to attend, RSVP to Sydney.Stone@ge.com by Sept. 12 with your name, title, organization and email address.

Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership Opening Up New Business Opportunities

GDo you know what TTIP is and what it could mean for your business? Answers will be provided in a September 26 half-day session at the Lilly Center Auditorium in downtown Indianapolis. The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership is a comprehensive agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union.

The answer to the second part of the opening question is that it can, in the words of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, “help unlock opportunity for American families, workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers through increased access to European markets for American goods and services.”

The Trans-Atlantic Business Council is presenting this informative program in conjunction with Eli Lilly and Company and the Indiana Chamber. Indiana Congressman Todd Young (R-9th District) will be among the speakers. Two panel discussions will focus on the regional impact of international trade, as well as company executives sharing export and foreign direct investment success stories.

The program will conclude at 11:15 a.m. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

Regional Events to Connect Employers with Educators

In partnership with Indiana employers, the Educational Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN), Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Youth Institute is pleased to announce two NEW events coming to Lafayette and Odon this year.

The two events are regionally based opportunities for K-12 educators, state and regional government agencies, corporations, and youth-serving professionals to engage with employers about how best to connect Hoosier students with the education and careers that fit their skills and interests.

Through panel discussions, keynote presentations and group networking, attendees will be connected to resources that enhance their ability to educate and train students to successfully pursue the postsecondary careers that exist within the region.

Each event will include a tour with a local employer—giving educators a firsthand look at some of Indiana employers’ most state-of-the-art facilities. Join us at one of the following locations:

September 24 – Lafayette
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.
Training and Reception Center
Featuring a tour of Subaru

October 2- Odon
Westgate Academy
Conferencing and Training Center
Featuring a tour of NSWC Crane

Both sessions will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include lunch. Each session is just $10 to participate. Professional Development Growth Points available for counselors and educators at no extra cost.

Register online.

 

It’s a Dog’s Life at West Baden Springs Hotel

You’ve ordered room service and your beloved pet is looking at you with irresistible puppy dog eyes. But wait! As you bend down and pat his head, his tail begins to wag happily as he realizes the delectable meal is for him.

Bon appétit!

West Baden Springs Hotel at French Lick Resort offers 15 pet-friendly rooms throughout its 243 luxury guest rooms and suites. The upscale destination recently introduced in-room doggie dining.

If your canine has a taste for the finer things in life, order him (or her) high-end entrées such as Chicken à la Pooch, Moses’ Meatloaf (named after a regular four-legged guest, it’s served with ground turkey, red rice, peas and carrots) and Applewood Smoked Bacon.

As we speak, my Shih Tzu, Seymour, is probably seated at my home laptop booking a reservation.

Read more about the doggie dining menu and the guests who inspired it.

Energy Offer: Save and Get Paid

Energy consumers in the South Bend and Fort Wayne regions can learn more about a new demand response program at upcoming presentations.

Participating organizations can receive payments year-round in exchange for agreeing to reduce energy use during times of high demand. The details will be explained during one-hour breakfast meetings on August 27 and 28.

EnerNOC provides the resources to help manage your energy management efforts. Registration and additional details.

Advertisers Turning to Selfies

Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2013, “selfie” is now not only a recognized noun but a movement. Scroll through various social media outlets and you will inevitably run across multiple personal snapshots, most proclaiming themselves as selfies in their captions.

The intention, of course, is to show off a new hair style, jewelry accessory, etc., or to simply make a declaration of confidence to your group of peers known as your “followers” or “friends.” But advertisers have realized the potential that selfies and other personal photos hold for marketing purposes.

An article entitled “Why Advertisers Can’t Wait to Get Their Hands on Your Selfies” outlines some of the initiatives already in the process for using personal pictures for marketing research.

Advertisers see immense potential in these photos to reveal information about consumers. The pictures we take and post represent our interests and passions — insight that marketers are eager to obtain. Posts can even uncover a person’s brand affiliations.

Examples of such technology include VisualGraph, which Pinterest has bought and can use to advertise to users based on photos they pin. Vicarious, an artificial intelligence firm that utilizes image recognition, has investors such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Directing ads based on photos would move advertising from demographic-based targeting to interest-based. However, it’s estimated that only 15% of photos provide substantial clues. Additionally, this invasive method of marketing could scare people.

Regardless, I think it’s an interesting prospect. As someone who has minimal posts on her social media accounts, I’m not too concerned about advertisers gleaning much information at all about me through my scarcity of pictures. But I don’t think most of us realize that what we post represents so much about us, or at least we don’t often stop to think about it.

Advertisers have recognized the trove of information that we make available about ourselves on a daily basis through our posts, and I think that can serve as a reminder to be aware of what we put out there for the world to see.

Commerce Apps Revolutionizing Shopping

A couple of nights ago, as I was idly passing time on my phone, I opened up the App Store and proceeded to download four or five new apps. Three of these were shopping-related. When asked if I wanted to receive notifications, I granted the applications permission. I quickly realized the danger of my decision. Less than 24 hours later, I was beginning to receive alerts, tempting me to view discounted items that would still inevitably accumulate to a steep amount if I made purchases every time I was notified of a sale.

This type of interactive commerce may very well be the future of shopping. An article on ReadWriteShop recently outlined three e-commerce tools that are setting the trend.

  • eBay’s digital shopping windows: large digital screens allowing users to view and purchase products on display
  • Zero Effort Commerce: an app that learns users’ shopping habits and can be programmed for different conveniences, such as making purchases before running out of a certain product or offering customized item suggestion
  • eBay Valet app pilot: an app designed for selling products that transfers much of the work to eBay, such as estimating a price, taking professional photos of the item and sending a shipping box and label

Apps such as these will make shopping and selling more accessible than ever. It will be interesting to see how advances in e-commerce shape purchasing trends—particularly apps that monitor spending habits and offer tailored recommendations. For a shopping-lover such as myself, a new level of self-control will certainly have to be developed, but I believe the benefits will outweigh the setbacks.