Skill UP Grants Target Innovation Networks

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Mike Barnes is associate chief operating officer for employer engagement with the DWD. Mike Barnes is associate chief operating officer for employer engagement with the DWD.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has awarded nearly $10 million in grants through its Skill UP Indiana! program. This year's funding, which aims to further develop the talent supply chain in local communities, was awarded to 11 innovation networks that work to create a talent pipeline matched to the current and future workforce needs of employers.

Associate Chief Operating Officer Mike Barnes says the decision to target employer-led innovation networks came from looking at best practices developed from previous funding rounds.

"We saw the opportunity here to really seed these innovation networks at a local level where you have your local K-12, your CTE, your adult education, chambers of commerce, local governments all come around the needs of employers in understanding the skill levels they need out of the current workforce and understanding what they will need five to 10 years down the road," said Barnes, "and then working to align those training and education resources to meet those needs."

The number of applications received for this round of Skill UP Indiana! grants more than doubled the previous two rounds which Barnes says is a reflection of the desire to develop local talent through effective collaboration. He adds the innovation networks also allow employers to get the message about available jobs out to the local community.

"A lot of the jobs sometimes go overlooked when students are looking at career choices," said Barnes. "The innovation network really allows employers to get the word out about the jobs that they have and about the successful careers that they can build in those."

The two-year grants require a private match by the recipients.  The 2018 Skill UP Indiana! grant recipients include:

DeKalb County School District - $251,000

  • Create work-and-learn opportunities for youth and adult learners at multiple stages of a career pathway system, work-and-learn opportunities include internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships.

E3 Innovation Network (Monroe, Greene and Owen counties) - $582,000

  • Develop sustainable pathways for talent development that align with the industry demands with comprehensive training opportunities.

ELITE (Fayette, Henry, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne counties) - $1.28 million

  • Develop work-based learning models to attract and retain local talent, increase wages and provide career pathways, and to invest in new apprenticeship pathways for incumbent and emerging workers to impact skills development, retention, and promotion.

Hamilton County Workforce Innovation Network - $1.46 million

  • Increase talent pipeline supply, organize work-and-learn opportunities at multiple stages of a career pathway system, and design sector-focused career pathway systems that include stackable and portable, standards-based, industry recognized credentials.

Health & Science Innovations (IDEAA) (Marion, Hamilton, Boone, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Morgan, Shelby and Bartholomew counties) - $924,000

  • Develop pathways that are sensitive to individuals with different academic/career backgrounds connecting participants to employment opportunities, and implement enhanced and scalable work based learning (WBL) opportunities.

Hendricks Logistics Sector Partnership (Hendricks County) - $601,750

  • Engage opportunities in work based learning like internships, externships, mentoring, and job shadowing will expose current students, administrators, teachers and parents to the potential career in TDL.

LaPorte County Innovation Network - $677,000

  • Create a pipeline of skill-certified talent  for LaPorte County manufacturing employers  via an integrated collaborative effort of community partners and direct service and training providers,  including the K-12 schools, LaPorte Career and Technical Education Center, Ivy Tech, Purdue NW and the Work One system. 

Lawrence County Growth Council - $693,000

  • Maintain strategies that will increase utilization of the North Lawrence Career Center; increase the number of apprenticeships and internships; increase job skills of unemployed and underemployed adults; and create a Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

Region 4 Innovation Network (Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Miami, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Warren and White counties) - $1 million

  • Convert large numbers of potential job applicants into skilled workers on an advanced manufacturing career pathway and develop a sustainable system to support this transformational process.

Scott County Economic Development Corp. - $378,000

  • Expand the scope of training services to support incumbent workers, unemployed, recent graduates, ex-offenders to receive relevant and interactive training to garner real experience on machines and about the career pipeline into the manufacturing sector.

South Bend/Elkhart Advanced Manufacturing Sector Partnership - $1.7 million

  • Develop innovative approaches to reach the student and adult education population to provide clear, efficient pathways to enter into a local career in advanced manufacturing and IT.

You can learn more about the Skill UP Indiana! program by clicking here.

Barnes says the decision to target employer-led innovation networks came from looking at best practices developed from previous funding rounds.
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