Gap Growing in 'Middle-Skill' Jobs

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An organization aiming to increase training among Indiana's work force says the largest segment of the state's skills gap comes from "middle-skill" jobs. A report from the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition suggests fewer than half of Hoosiers have the training needed for those positions. You can see the full report by clicking here.

September 23, 2013

News Release

The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition will release a report today that finds a growing number of unfilled 'middle skills' jobs, and concludes that Indiana's Skills Gap is an adult problem that will require adult solutions. The report Indiana's Forgotten Middle-Skills: 2013 will be officially released by Co-Chairs Sen. Dennis Kruse (District 14) and Jessica Fraser (Indiana Institute for Working Families) at a press conference at Group Dekko, a northeast Indiana manufacturer with first-hand knowledge of the skills gap. A call-in media availability will take place at 1:30 p.m. Media may call 888.537.7715 and use participant code 73262392#.

The report is available online at http://www.incap.org/documents/iiwf/2013/Middle_Skill_Jobs_2013.pdf

The Coalition's report comes at a time when Indiana's unemployment rate is stuck above 8 percent and more than 44 percent of Hoosiers between 18 and 65 have no post-secondary education at all, meaning that over 1.8 million Hoosier adults currently lack the skill attainment to be competitive in the workforce.

The report finds that the largest and fastest-growing segment of Indiana's skills gap comes from middle-skill jobs (those that require at least a high-school diploma but less than a four-year college degree) Middle-skill jobs account for over 550,000 job openings in Indiana- half of all job openings through 2020. The number of middle-skill job openings has increased by almost 63,000 jobs over the number of middle-skill openings projected from 2006-2016. Additionally, the demographic projections for Indiana's workforce show that 65 percent of the people who will be in Indiana's workforce in the year 2025 were already working adults in 2010-long past the traditional high-school-to-college pipeline. For this reason, training and education must be targeted towards adults who are working or could be working today.

While 54 percent of all jobs in Indiana are classified as middle-skill, only 47 percent of Hoosiers likely have the skills and credentials for these jobs. This also raises concerns that the state may not realize its full long-term growth and competitiveness in the global marketplace. Furthermore, middle-skill jobs will remain essential to Indiana's economy into the foreseeable future. While the proportion of high- and low-skill workers in Indiana is expected to decline from 2010-2025, the percentage of middle-skill workers will experience only a small increase, suggesting that there may not be enough workers trained at the middle-skill level to close the gap.

Although Indiana's policymakers have laudably emphasized the skills gap in recent workforce development and education efforts, this new report clearly shows that the skills gap won't be filled without 'adult' solutions. Based on the findings from the report, the Coalition has selected four policy priorities for 2014 that focus on middle-skill attainment for Indiana's adult workers.

1. Allow part-time students greater access to state financial aid.

2. Continue differentiation of services for students in Adult Basic Education

3. Maximize On-the-Job Training (OJT) Opportunities

4. Promote the statewide establishment of Prior Learning Assessments

The Coalition's full policy platform can be found at http://www.incap.org/inSkills-policy.html

ABOUT THE INDIANA SKILLS2COMPETE COALITION

The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition is made up of a bipartisan group of state legislators as well as education policymakers, business, labor, and community leaders that have come together with the aim of closing Indiana's skills gap and serving as a resource for policymakers working toward that end. The Coalition uses research and data to promote public policies that will bring greater awareness to the need for middle-skill training and help match the skills of Indiana's workers with the demands its workforce. For more information, see http://www.incap.org/indianaskills2compete.html.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SKILLS COALITION

The National Skills Coalition organizes broad-based coalitions seeking to raise the skills of America's workers across a range of industries. We advocate for public policies that invest in what works, as informed by our members' real-world expertise. And we communicate these goals to an American public seeking a vision for a strong U.S. economy that allows everyone to be part of its success. For more information, visit www.nationalskillscoalition.org.

ABOUT THE INDIANA INSTITUTE FOR WORKING FAMILIES

The Indiana Institute for Working Families (Institute) is a program of the Indiana Community Action Association, Inc. (IN-CAA). The Institute was founded in 2004 and conducts research and promotes public policies to help Hoosier families achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. The Institute is the only statewide program in Indiana that combines research and policy analysis on federal and state legislation, public policies, and programs impacting low-income working families with education and outreach. The Institute achieves its work by focusing its activities in the following areas: Public Policy: Research and Analysis; Education and Outreach; and National, Statewide, and Community Partnerships. To learn more about the Institute, please visit: www.incap.org/iiwf.html

ABOUT THE INDIANA COMMUNITY ACTION ASSOCIATION (IN-CAA)

The Indiana Community Action Association, Inc. (IN-CAA) is a statewide not-for-profit membership corporation, incorporated in the State of Indiana in 1970. IN-CAA's members are comprised of Indiana's 23 Community Action Agencies (CAAs), which serve all of Indiana's 92 counties. IN-CAA envisions a state with limited or no poverty, where its residents have decent, safe, and sanitary living conditions, and where resources are available to help low-income individuals attain self-sufficiency. IN-CAA serves as an advocate and facilitator of policy, planning and programs to create solutions and share responsibility as leaders in the War Against Poverty. IN-CAA's mission is to help the state's CAAs address the conditions of poverty through: training and technical assistance; developing models for service delivery; and providing resources to help increase network capacity. For more information about IN-CAA, please visit: www.incap.org

Source: Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition