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IN group pushes for middle-skills training initiative

A new coalition of state policymakers and community activists wants to spend more time and money on addressing the Indiana workforce’s skills gap. 

The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition is comprised of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, government officials, educators and community leaders.  The group is calling for an increased emphasis on middle-skills training, those jobs which require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

A recent coalition study shows that while 55% of Indiana jobs are middle-skill, only 49% of workers possess the necessary training.

Coalition member and Senate Education Committee Chair Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) says there are several ways he hopes to address that shortfall, such as providing greater financial aid to part-time students.

“We have a tendency to give scholarships and financial aid and grants to those people who are full-time students but a lot of the adults who need this extra training have a hard time sometimes getting grants and scholarships.”

Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) says she wants to see adult learners get more school credit for job experience.

“I know, personally, a whole group of paramedics who would like to go to nursing school and are not getting any credit for ten years, 12 years on the job.”

Kruse and Tallian say much of the focus in the last few years has been on K-12 education and think the spotlight must now focus on adult learning.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.