The director of the Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research says Indiana has the largest share of advanced manufacturing employment in the country. A report from the CBER and Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, says 53 percent of manufacturing jobs are in advanced manufacturing and Michael Hicks says there is a correlation between the number of jobs and the number of college graduates.

The report says between 2010 and 2013, the growth in the number of Indiana adults with associate degrees or higher was positively related to growth in the advanced manufacturing sector. Hicks tells Inside INdiana Business the number of blue-collar workers in advanced manufacturing jobs is starting to shrink.

"Advanced manufacturing is getting more technical and more people are going from the shop floor into CAD design rooms and that sort of thing," says Hicks. "I think the study really points toward a stronger STEM education at the two-year technical community college level and maybe more college graduates in engineering and sciences."

The data from the report says of Indiana’s more than 240,000 advanced manufacturing jobs, 17.4 percent are STEM-related, 24.7 percent are white collar and 57.8 percent are blue collar. Hicks says the data underscores the importance of talent development efforts.

"Programs such as Hire Tech, where students are exposed early on to the concepts of advanced manufacturing, are needed now more than ever as Indiana continues to grow its advanced manufacturing industry," says Hicks. "Transitioning students into potential employees is urgent, given the fact that advanced manufacturing growth has likely provided a bulk of manufacturing employment growth in Indiana over the past decade."

You can view the report, Advanced Manufacturing in the United States: The Shift Toward Diversified Industries and an Educated Workforce below. You can also view more reports from the CBER and Conexus by clicking here

Hicks says more jobs are leaning toward workers with some form of college degree.