Indiana Chamber of Commerce Launches New Site Focusing on "Middle Skills" Jobs

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A new online tool is taking a detailed and local approach to helping thousands of Hoosier job seekers and students identify what occupations are in demand in their area. IndianaSkills.com, from Ready Indiana and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, is a searchable database of real-time job statistics for every region of the state. The site is free and available to the public.

The database includes information for occupations in Indiana requiring at least a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree (associate's degrees, certificates, and industry certifications) based on what’s requested or required in employer job ads.

"Job seekers can find career opportunities that best match their skills and interests – and are in high demand; many with competitive wages," says Ready Indiana Executive Director Kris Deckard.

"This site provides some much-needed direction and spells out what education or short-term training they may need to get the local jobs they desire."

Specifically, job seekers can search their local or preferred region of the state to discover the most in-demand jobs and overview of each. They can also learn the following about those positions:

  • Average salary
  • Baseline and specialized skills necessary
  • Certification/training required
  • Indiana training providers (with direct contact links)
  • Job status and earnings of recent graduates with these credentials

Offers Indiana Chamber Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Derek Redelman: "Despite the persistence of a high unemployment rate, Indiana's employers remain frustrated that they cannot find skilled workers to fill thousands of available positions. While four-year college degrees continue to be an important goal for many young adults, some of our state's best job opportunities are through one-year certificates and two-year associate's degrees.

"IndianaSkills.com is a direct response to educators and students who have asked for help in identifying the specific skills and pathways that are in highest demand."

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) is the lead partner for development of the site and it is supported by the Joyce Foundation and managed by Ready Indiana, which is funded in part by Lilly Endowment Inc.

As a companion to the new web site, NCHEMS produced a report, "A Quest for Clarity: Identifying the Market for Short-Term Training Opportunities and Industry Recognized Credentials in Indiana." Among the report's findings:

  • During 2010-2011, the five occupations in greatest demand in Indiana requiring less than a bachelor's degree were: heavy truck drivers; retail sales persons; registered nurses; sales representatives in wholesale and manufacturing industries; and first-line supervisors.
  • From 2006-2010, the state's undergraduate certificate programs (taking less than two years to complete at or near full-time basis) with the highest employment rates of recent graduates were: licensed practical/vocational nurse training (88.1 percent employed within a year, 1,426 total); masonry (88%, 22 employed), information technology (83.3 percent, 15 employed); dental assistant (81.8 percent, 320 employed); pharmacy technician/assistant (81.8 percent, 18 employed); and welding technology/welder (81.1 percent, 43 employed). The medical/clinical assistant field also had very significant employment rates and number of employed individuals at 76 percent, 527 employed.

The full report – including an executive summary and statewide charts – is now online at www.IndianaSkills.com.

Beyond unemployed Hoosiers and students (along with their advisors and counselors) looking for career guidance, there are other target audiences for the new web site.

Employers have the opportunity to quickly and easily download customized job descriptions pulling from real-time data. They may also learn more about regional and state occupational trends, the skills and credentials they should be requiring for their open positions, plus the wages being paid to similar employees around the state. Additionally, economic developers, researchers and policymakers can all benefit from the statistics compiled at IndianaSkills.com, which are more recent than traditional Bureau of Labor Statistics data and based upon what employers are actually requesting.

Data from the Indiana Workforce Intelligence System (IWIS) – which integrates state administrative data from Indiana's workforce development and education systems - is included on the site. That data provides the status of recent Indiana graduates from instructional programs associated with the occupations. Another database includes technology that collects and aggregates the language used in Indiana job postings from 2010 and 2011 to offer information on what skills and credentials are being sought. That data yields top 10 occupations in demand statewide and within each economic growth region.

To ensure the data on IndianaSkills.com remains current, it will be updated annually. In the coming year, plans are to expand the site to include supply and demand for occupations and graduates of four-year degrees and above.

Additional quotes from those familiar with IndianaSkills.com:

"Indianaskills.com represents an outstanding tool for Ivy Tech students and advisors. Students will be able to search careers in demand in their community and tailor their academic choices accordingly. Ivy Tech advisors will be able to use real-time data to help guide students toward certifications and academic programs that not only interest students, but enable them a better opportunity to put the skills they gain to work in the region in which they choose to live."
– Matt Bell, president, Ivy Tech Corporate College, statewide

"Based on current job growth projections in Northwest Indiana, an additional 200,000 employees will need to acquire credentials beyond a high school diploma by 2025 in order for businesses to stay competitive and for the economy to grow. IndianaSkills.com will serve as a valuable resource for all high school, college and WorkOne career advisors as they provide guidance to students and job seekers on the best opportunities for a career and what may be required to achieve their goal. Students, parents and job seekers will also find this to be a user-friendly tool. And employers will be able to keep their job descriptions current which will in turn provide feedback to individuals planning their career. It is a tool which has great utility for everyone connected to workforce development."
– Linda Woloshansky, president and CEO, Center of Workforce Innovations, Valparaiso

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is the state's largest broad-based business advocacy and information organization, representing nearly 5,000 member companies that employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.

Source: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce