The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is planning to launch an effort to help employers enhance their workers’ skills and individuals learn about what they need for available jobs. The chamber’s Institute for Workforce Excellence is developing a Talent Development Clearinghouse, an online tool designed to provide the most up-to-date information about educational and job training opportunities, in-demand skills and employment data for Indiana.
Jason Bearce, vice president of education and workforce development at the chamber, says the clearinghouse is the centerpiece of an overall effort to help companies and communities create more robust talent pipelines.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Bearce said the goal is to create a one-stop shop to find workforce-related resources throughout the state.
“There’s no shortage of workforce development initiatives and resources and providers out there,” said Bearce. “But the employer community as a whole, the generally fall into a couple buckets; they’re either completely unaware of what’s out there and how it might be relevant to them or they might have some idea of what’s out there but they really are unclear on how to navigate it.”
Bearce says the institute plans to scan the various workforce development initiatives throughout the state and evaluate them for inclusion in the clearinghouse.
“We need to have some sort of evidence that it has some proven efficacy with the employer community and helping them address specific challenges and that we have some way to verify what the results are and what that impact is,” said Bearce.
In addition to the web component, the chamber says the Institute for Workforce Excellence will offer concierge-level technical assistance to employers, workers, nonprofits, community partners and higher education institutions.
Bearce says while Indiana is one of the most business-friendly states in the country, the state still lags behind other states in terms of the education skill level of the workforce.
“We think that we can play a real role in partnership with the employer community to help more Hoosiers get connected to high-quality education training,” said Bearce. “We really want to lift up that post-secondary education attainment rate in Indiana, which, depending on exactly what it’s measuring, we tend to be ranked in the bottom 10 or 15 states in terms of education attainment.”
The clearinghouse is being funded by a $2.5 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.
“For Indiana to prosper in the future, the state’s workers must continually upgrade their skills and abilities so they align with the job requirements of Indiana employers,” said Clay Robbins, chief executive officer of Lilly Endowment. “We hope that this clearinghouse will be a one-stop shop for Indiana employers and workers to learn about the myriad educational and training opportunities and resources provided by the state of Indiana, Indiana’s fine array of higher education institutions, various philanthropic and charitable entities and Indiana business organizations.”
The chamber aims to have the clearinghouse up and running by the end of the year.
Bearce says the goal is to create a one-stop shop to find workforce-related resources throughout the state.