What's Wrong with This Picture?
Write down these numbers, 60,000 and 90,000. 60,000 is the number of Hoosiers currently receiving unemployment, 90,000 is the number of jobs listed at Indiana Career Connect, the state's job web site. Something is not right! This is analogous to a bunch of homeless people sleeping in front of an abandoned building.
Of course my progressive friends will say many of those are "phantom" jobs. In other words, employers are not really looking to hire, they either already have an applicant in mind and are posting to comply with company policy or they will have an opening down the road and want to see what the market looks like.
Assuming that's true and 25 percent of the listings meet that criteria, that still leaves more than 67,000 jobs on the table.
The fact that there more more jobs than qualified individuals really underlines the skills gap that we talked about so much in 2013. Either people don't have the technical skills to fill the positions or they lack the "soft" skills, i.e. knowing how to write a resume, do a job interview or show up on time.
I think one way to fix this would be require ALL applicants for unemployment to take a "soft skills" class to make sure people know what to do and what not do when applying for a job.
Another thing would be to make sure Indiana adequately funds intermediate education opportunities like Ivy Tech*, Vincennes University, etc., so these schools can continue the programs that help close the technical skills gap.
At least that way if someone can't find a job it's because the job isn't there, not because they're not qualified.
*Full disclose, I am an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech in the Speech and Communications Department.