Work Force Issue Looms in NE Indiana

Posted: Updated:

A new labor report suggests northeast Indiana is in danger of losing one-fifth of its work force to retirement in the next ten years. The report from Northeast Indiana Works shows education, truck transportation and machinery manufacturing are among the industries that will be most affected. The organization says the report underscores the need to educate and train young workers to fill those positions.

August 21, 2014

News Release

Fort Wayne, Ind. -- Twenty percent of the adult workforce in northeast Indiana is at or nearing retirement age, according to the August Labor Market Information Report released by Northeast Indiana Works.

That, said Northeast Indiana Works President and CEO Kathleen Randolph, underscores the need to equip younger workers with the skills and education necessary to meet the 21st-century demands of the region’s employers.

"We know from some of the employers we work with that losing skilled, experienced people to retirement is a major concern," Randolph said. "It is imperative that we upskill younger workers already in the workforce and that we make sure training and education pathways for in-demand jobs are available for those who have yet to enter the workforce."

The latest labor market information report was compiled for Northeast Indiana Works by the Community Research Institute at IPFW.

Of the estimated 324,845 people 19 years old to 65-plus in the workforce in 11 northeast Indiana counties, 66,524 are 55 and older – or 20.5 percent. Some industry sectors will face an even greater challenge in keeping the employment pipeline stocked.

Among the industries with higher percentages of workers 55 to 65-plus:

--Public education, 28.1 percent

--Private education, 27.3 percent

--Truck transportation, 26.2 percent

--Machinery manufacturing, 25.5 percent.

--Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods, 23.9 percent

--Insurance carriers and related activities, 23.7 percent.

--Social assistance, 23.1 percent

--Motor vehicle and parts dealers, 22.9 percent

--Private hospitals, 22.9 percent

Among the occupations with looming aging-workforce challenges:

--Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, with 30.4 percent of workers ages 55 to 65-plus.

--Secondary school teachers, except special and career-technical education, 29 percent.

--Elementary school teachers, except special education, 28.7 percent.

--Medical secretaries, 28.4 percent

--Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, 26.9 percent

--Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, 26.2 percent.

--Maintenance and repair workers, 25.4 percent

--Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers, 24.8 percent

--Registered nurses, 24.2 percent

--Machinists, 24.1 percent

About Northeast Indiana Works: Northeast Indiana Works, the region's workforce investment board, provides public and private financial and employment resources to businesses and individuals for education and skills training to meet the needs of regional industries. The nonprofit sets policy for how public and private funds are utilized to support talent development. It also operates and staffs the 11 county-based WorkOne Northeast career centers in the region. Individuals and companies may access resources and services by visiting or calling WorkOne in their county. To find your local WorkOne, log on to www.workoneworks.com

Source: Northeast Indiana Works