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Unfilled Jobs in Indiana Means New Kinds of Education

Gov. Holcomb has created a new office for it and an anti-poverty organization says just having a job isn't enough.

STATE HOUSE--With around 80,000 open jobs in Indiana, the state is getting more serious about making sure you have the right education to fit the jobs. Thursday Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his office is creating the Office of Apprenticeships & Work-Based Learning.

"We need to skill-up working adults as quickly as possible,” said Holcomb. “That’s why expanding opportunities for working adults, in particular, is so critical—because they need to ability to work and earn money while they learn the skills they need to enter a new career in a high-wage, high-demand field. This office makes this possible.”

While the governor's office is trying to make sure we have enough skilled workers in Indiana to fill the jobs, Bread for the World, an organization dedicated to ending hunger, says Indiana should make sure that the jobs we have to fill are good jobs.

"It's more than just about having a job," said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations for Bread for the World. "It's also about having a job that pays enough for you to be able to provide for yourself and your family."

He said the organization supports any move that will help fight poverty and hunger and that makes sure people are able to have a job that pays enough.

"We support policies that incentivize-for example there have been federal policies that provided incentives for vocational training, even in the tax bill that passed last year. There was a continuation of the Earned Opportunity Tax Credit. These are tax credits that businesses can use to invest in under represented communities."

The new state office will work to double the number of Hoosiers who participate in apprenticeships or other work-based learning programs by 2020 and will expand the opportunities for both students and working adult Hoosiers in a more diverse range of industry sectors, said a news release from Holcomb's office.

To boost apprenticeship programs for working adults, the Office of Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning will work with the U.S. Department of Labor to enhance and expand federally approved apprenticeships. 

Beyond apprenticeships, the office will work closely with Indiana businesses and education providers to build more relevant work-based learning programs in emerging industries for a more diverse population of Hoosiers, said the news release. 

Finally, the office will work to better communicate and connect Hoosiers with apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities around the state.  

“As I travel around the state talking with Indiana businesses, I hear from many of them that finding skilled employees is a top concern to sustain and grow their companies,” said Holcomb. 

“This new office will create more work-based experiences that align industry needs with relevant skills training—with the ultimate goal of getting more Hoosiers into good jobs right now while preparing young people for tomorrow’s economy.”

PHOTO: Thinkstock/StockRocket

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