Make your home page

Community Link: Department of Workforce Development

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On this week’s edition of Community Link, we discussed the state’s mission to prepare Hoosiers in gaining and retaining employment.

Commissioner of Department of Workforce Development Fred Payne dropped by our studios to tell us more. 

Next Level jobs is part of Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda. What is it and what is the vision? 

Governor Holcomb has made workforce a priority in the state of Indiana and in so doing he’s created what’s called next level jobs. The idea is to ensure that individuals are achieving the next level or their next goal. We have 2 sides to that coin: the employer and the individual. On the employer side we have what’s called and employer training grant program. That program provides $5,000 to hire and train and retain an individual employee up to $50,000. So currently we have about 250 employers training 7,000 employees on that program. On the individual side we have the workforce readying grant program. This program provides funding for individual who want to achieve a high demand high wage certification leading to a job. We have over 11,000 who are under out workforce grant program through Ivy Tech, Vincennes University or local providers throughout the state and across different sectors. 

What are some of the DWDs major initiatives to help Hoosiers right now? 

Next level jobs is one of those initiatives. Another initiative is work base learning and apprenticeship program. We are actually going across the state and we’re educating employers and communities about the work base opportunities across our state and focusing on areas outside of their traditional apprenticeship areas like tech, healthcare and health services. 

In the future, it is expected that there will be over 1 million jobs to fill in Indiana, due to retirements and industry changes. What is DWD doing to mitigate that? 

We’re working on the talent pipeline. Next level jobs is one entry into the talent pipeline. We’re trying to ensure that individuals who do not have a credential yet that they have one by the time that they get a job. For example, Governor Holcomb challenges us to get 30,000 who do not yet have a high school diploma to get one by 2019. We’re about 75 percent there. So focusing on the talent pipeline is how we plan to help employers address that concern in the future.