Employer Survey: Downward Workforce Trend Continues

More than half of respondents to a recent survey expect their workforces to grow in the next two years, but more of those employers continue to leave jobs unfilled and rank meeting talent needs as among their biggest challenges.

There were 671 respondents to the ninth annual employer survey, conducted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its foundation. WGU Indiana sponsored the survey, sent to Indiana Chamber members and customers. Participating companies included 58% with fewer than 100 employees and 27% with between 100 and 500 employees. Leading industries represented were manufacturing (21%) and health care/social assistance (11%).

While there were not dramatic changes from workforce results in recent years, several downward trends continued. Companies that left Indiana jobs unfilled in 2015 due to under-qualified applicants increased to 45% – compared to 43% and 39%, respectively, for the prior two years. In addition, 27% of respondents identified filling their workforce and meeting talent needs as ­­their biggest challenge. Another 49% categorized the talent needs as “challenging but not their biggest challenge.” The 76% total exceeds the numbers for 2015 (74%; 24% biggest challenge) and 2014 (72%; 20% biggest challenge).

This comes despite the percentage of respondents requiring an industry certification or occupational license for unfilled jobs declining from 27% in the 2015 survey to 16% in 2016. At the same time, the minimum requirement of a high school diploma increased from 34% to 39%.

On the other end of the education spectrum, more employers are also raising the bar. Employers requiring a bachelor degree as the minimum level for the unfilled jobs increased from 23% a year ago to more than 28% in 2016. This reaffirms the importance of moving the current workforce toward degree completion.

More than half (52%) of survey respondents indicated they do not offer tuition reimbursement. Of those providing the tuition assistance, only 11% of companies see at least 10% of their employees taking advantage of the benefit. This serves as a potential additional detriment to reaching the Outstanding Talent goals, particularly in elevating the skills of incumbent workers. Recent Cigna Corporation research shows a $1.29 return generated for each $1 investment in tuition reimbursement.

Additional results include:

  • Personal qualities (work ethic, responsibility, initiative) and critical thinking skills were cited as most challenging to find among job applicants and new hires at 63% and 54%, respectively
  • More than half (54%) of companies expect to grow their workforce in the next 12 to 24 months. Forty-one percent anticipate no change, with 4% seeing a decrease
  • Pending retirements continue to be a factor as 57% say up to 5% of their employees will be eligible to retire within the next five years (27% place the percentage of eligible retirees as high as 10%)

View the survey results at www.indianachamber.com/education.

The Indiana Chamber and its foundation, focused on providing research and solutions to enhance Indiana’s economic future, have resources to assist employers, job seekers and students.

IndianaSkills.com provides job supply and demand information both statewide and regionally. It utilizes current labor market data to help companies, prospective workers and students understand Indiana’s workforce landscape. Salary data, required skills and certifications, and creation of effective job descriptions are among the featured tools.

Indiana INTERNnet has been connecting students and employers for internship opportunities for 15 years. The easy-to-use web site, informative Intern Today, Employee Tomorrow guide and regional partnerships are supplemented by additional outreach programs.

The Indiana Vision 2025 plan measures Indiana’s progress compared to other states on 36 goals in the four driver areas of Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture.

Early Childhood Education Gets a Push in the Right Direction

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Great news: It seems like 2017 will be the year that everyone finally jumps on the train to expand the pre-K pilot program in Indiana. In just the past two weeks, we have had two major announcements from Governor Mike Pence and Superintendent Glenda Ritz on different proposals to expand the pre-K pilot program.

As background, in 2014 Pence testified in front of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee to pursue Indiana’s first pre-kindergarten program for disadvantaged four-year-olds. That session generated legislation to create a five-county pilot program (selected counties were Lake, Marion, Jackson, Vanderburgh and Allen) for 2,300 grants of up to $6,600 for low-income four-year-old students. This voluntary, voucher-based program could place students in public schools, private schools, licensed child care centers, licensed homes or registered ministries – as long as they were a Level 3 or Level 4 on Paths to Quality, which is Indiana’s child care quality rating and improvement system.

This pilot program was awarded $10 million that year and was given an additional $10 million the subsequent year. The response was overwhelming – over 500 low-income applicants in Marion County alone were turned away. In Valparaiso, 600 applications were submitted for only 285 spots. It is important to note that 41 other states have publicly funded preschool programs. Indiana is unique as businesses around the state have stepped up to the plate and have invested heavily to push to expand the pilot program. The business community realizes that having a quality start to school will ultimately lead to a stronger workforce and better communities.

The day of the Indiana Chamber’s spring board of directors meeting earlier this month, Governor Pence announced that he had sent a letter to Secretary Sylvia Burwell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing interest in expanding pre-K education for disadvantaged children. HHS oversees preschool development grants authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). He has also stated publicly his desire to request additional state dollars in the next budget. It should be noted that Pence had the opportunity to apply for $80 million in federal grant dollars in 2014 and decided not to pursue the application at the very last minute, citing concerns regarding federal intrusion. The Governor now states that the pilot is producing great results and the time is right for expansion.

Similarly, Ritz announced a proposed expansion of pre-kindergarten programs in announcing her Imagine 2020 legislative plan the following week. Ritz’s pre-kindergarten announcement included high-quality, state-funded, universal access to pre-K to the tune of $150 million per year. With this price tag, Ritz stated that if the political will is there, the funds will follow. Her plan utilizes reversions from state agencies already made to the general fund and leveraging federal dollars.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg joined Ritz this week to discuss more details about the pre-K plan. It was explained that the $150 million per year would be available for 289 public school districts with pre-K programs. The program would be voluntary for students, but would be open to all Hoosier four-year-olds, regardless of family income.

While we are thrilled that leaders of both parties are supporting expansion of pre-K programs in Indiana, per usual, the devil is in the details. Expansion can take shape in many forms: universal coverage for all four-year-olds regardless of income levels, increasing the number of counties in the pilot, expanding access to three-year-olds or changing the poverty-level income requirement. These details all are yet to be determined in each proposed plan.

The Indiana Chamber has partnered with many stakeholders to promote expansion of the pre-K pilot and has been meeting frequently to determine our approach to the 2017 legislative session, our messaging and to work collaboratively with community partners and Chamber members to promote a well-funded, high-quality expansion. We will be relying on employers across the state to help us beat the drum about the importance of a great early start to school, which will help lead to lifelong success.

Mo Rocca Cites Benjamin Harrison Home Experience in Commencement Speech

Humorist and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca recently advised graduates of Sarah Lawrence College to not panic if they don’t yet know what their professional lives will hold. In his anecdotes, he mentions how an experience at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site (in downtown Indianapolis) among other historic homes gave him a new perspective on passion.

Also noteworthy: “Do not take romantic advice from people who have been single for more than five years, or divorced more than twice.”

Survey: Where Will the Workers Come From?

Several straightforward conclusions can be drawn from the ninth annual workforce survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber and its foundation.

The good news is that respondents are optimistic about growing their businesses over the next one to two years. The challenge, however, is that they don’t know where they are going to find the workers to allow that growth to take place.

For the third consecutive year, the number of jobs left unfilled due to underqualified applicants increased. So did the number of employers who identified filling the workforce as their biggest challenge.

“There is a reason that Outstanding Talent is the top driver in our Indiana Vision 2025 plan,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The survey once again reinforces the work that must be done at so many levels to increase the skills of our current and future workers.”

View the press release and additional survey charts.

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Hoosier Author John Green on the “Joys” of Adulthood

John Green, the well-known Indianapolis-based author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns” and other modern literary hits, recently spoke to the graduating class of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

He’s articulate as always and waxes philosophical on the monotony of adulthood, but explains why that monotony does have a purpose in advancing society.

National Conference on Career Pathways Coming to Indy

pathway confPostsecondary Pathways has been a multi-year series of regional events connecting educators and businesses throughout the state. BizVoice magazine featured a 2015 stop in Batesville and a March-April 2016 update on recent programs.

The topic is also prominent at the national level, with the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) bringing its annual conference to Indianapolis and the JW Marriott in October. NCPN assists educators and employers involved in the advancement of career pathways, career and technical education, and related education reform initiatives.

The conference takes place October 5-7. Pre-conference workshops, nationally-known keynote speakers and more than 130 breakout sessions are featured. More than 1,200 participants are expected.

 

 

Indiana INTERNnet to Host Three Summer Networking Events for Interns, Mentors

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Roche Diagnostics interns enjoy a day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet will host a series of intern networking events this summer to encourage community engagement.

Interns from organizations throughout Central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis Zoo (July 14) and Indiana State Fair (August 5). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues.

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.) with professional development. Following the programming, attendees will be free to explore the museum at their leisure until it closes at 5 p.m. An optional lunch will be served around noon.
  • The Indianapolis Zoo event will take place from approximately 1-5 p.m. Following professional development programming and zoo experiences, attendees will be invited to enjoy the Animals and All That Jazz concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity where Pete the Planner will speak to attendees. Interns will be invited to enjoy the fair at their leisure and participate in an optional social media contest administered by Indiana INTERNnet. The contest will conclude in the early afternoon. Fair bucks will be provided for each attendee to be used at food vendors throughout the fair.

In 2015, nearly 200 interns participated in Indiana INTERNnet events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indiana State Fair.

A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for them to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Capacity is limited and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 1 for The Children’s Museum, July 1 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 15 for the Indiana State Fair. Contact Katie Coffin to RSVP at INTERNnet@indianachamber.com or (317) 264-7535.

Teacher Legislation Plus ISTEP Panel Update

Indiana educators are among the best and the brightest, and have the utmost important job of teaching our future Hoosier workforce. Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week across the United States. The Indiana Chamber was proud to support many pieces of legislation to help raise up the teaching profession. Many bills sought to provide ways to ease the teaching shortage issue, provide supplemental funding to educators and provide opportunities for teachers to grow in their profession. We look forward to more opportunities during the 2017 session.

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House Enrolled Act 1395 not only sunsets the high-stakes ISTEP exam, but it also creates a 23-person panel which will review and recommend an alternative based on the new federal regulations set forth by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Indiana Chamber worked tirelessly to ensure that the business community had a seat at the table and we are pleased that Indiana Chamber board member and former board chair, Marilyn Moran-Townsend, was recently appointed by Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne). Moran-Townsend serves on the Chamber’s Business Higher Education Forum policy committee and has an incredible background in education, including as former chair of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and a founding member of the Indiana Education Roundtable. Other appointees include:

  • Nicole Fama – principal of Indianapolis Public School #93; Fama will be chair of the board
  • Dr. Jim Roberts – Batesville Community School Corp. superintendent
  • Chuck Weisenbach – principal of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis
  • Brent Freeman – special education officer for Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Dr. Michelle McKeown – part-time assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University
  • Ayana Wilson-Coles – third grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis
  • Julie Kemp – principal at Chrisney Elementary School in the North Spencer County School Corp.
  • Wendy Robinson – superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Callie Marksbary – Indiana State Teachers Association
  • Melissa Scherle – Indianapolis Public Schools second grade teacher
  • Edward Rangel – assistant principal at Tindley Genesis in Indianapolis
  • Dr. Scot Croner – Blackford County Schools superintendent
  • Dr. Lynne Stallings – Ball State University professor
  • Jean Russell – literacy specialist at Haverhill Elementary in Southwest Allen County Schools, 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year
  • Steve Baker – Bluffton High School principal
  • Dr. Kenneth Folks – East Allen County Schools superintendent

Also on the panel: Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun, Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, Senate Education and Career Development Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and State Board of Education member Byron Ernest.

The panel will submit recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly no later than December 1, 2016.

Regional Coordinator Helps Build Intern Relationships in Central Indiana

Chelsea-DuKate-graphicIn 2015, Indiana INTERNnet launched regional initiatives to increase the number of experiential learning opportunities available to Indiana students. Chelsea DuKate, founder and president of Red Envelope Consulting, is working with employers in Central Indiana at every stage of internship management from development to recruiting to evaluation.

Indiana INTERNnet: Why are internships more important than ever for employers?

Chelsea DuKate: Besides the general benefits of enhanced productivity and gaining a potential new diverse perspective, employers also have an opportunity to better engage with the early career community. Internship programs can serve as a ‘selection method’ of sorts for full-time positions within their organization.

Studies have shown that interns hired full-time tend to be more loyal to that organization, which directly impacts labor and turnover costs. Other benefits include the company marketing that goes along with having interns and the increased name recognition and employment branding opportunities.

IIN: How are you helping Indianapolis area employers connect with the best and brightest talent for their internship programs?

DuKate: Red Envelope Consulting has partnered with the Indy Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet to connect with local employers in Marion and surrounding counties and help with identifying student opportunities within their organizations. I am working with employers on how to attract early career talent and, most importantly, how to manage both the program and the student employees.

IIN: What can Indiana INTERNnet do for employers?

DuKate: Indiana INTERNnet hosts a web-based platform to connect employers with internship-seeking individuals. Employers can post unlimited internship opportunities at www.IndianaINTERN.net, review the extensive database of student resumes in numerous fields, and apply for EARN Indiana reimbursement.

Indiana INTERNnet also provides several resources for employers to develop or improve their internship programs, including Intern Today Employee Tomorrow: The Indiana Employer’s Guide to Internships.

IIN: How should employers get started?

DuKate: Employers interested in discussing options related to building or enhancing their internship programs can contact Red Envelope Consulting by visiting www.redenvelope.consulting/contact or emailing directly at chelsea@redenvelope.consulting.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog