Chamber President: Indiana facing “skills challenge”

(Photo supplied/Pixabay)

It used to be that when you got out of high school and had a strong back, you could find a job that would feed the family. That’s not quite how it works any more and Indiana may be a bit behind because some potential workers aren’t getting the skills they need to get good jobs in the 21st century.

“Over 70 percent of those with college degrees are in the workforce, barely 50 percent of those with just a high school diploma,” said Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, in an interview with IndyPolitics.

He calls the situation a “skills challenge”. That means that many of the better-paying jobs, the kind that could keep people interested in working, require some kind of post-high school education.

That means Indiana has some work to do to get your kids ready for the kind of jobs the state has to offer, like robotics, app and tech start-ups and agri-science.

“Lifting up the skills of our adult workforce, better preparing youth for life after high school,” he said. “Some post-secondary education, whether it’s full-blown college degrees or whether it’s industry-recognized certificates, specialized training, etc., is going to be necessary for thw world of work here in the 21st century.”

Brinegar said that even now Indiana faces a worker shortage, like much of the world, and with record unemployment, meaning there are fewer people looking for jobs.

But, you are feeling the pain from not only worker shortages, but inflation and high gas prices, said Brinegar.

“The inflationary pressures are real and making things difficult particularly for smaller businesses, along with fuel prices,” he said.

He said the high gasoline prices, though they have been dropping, and high costs for diesel, mean getting goods delivered costs more. The trucks and the trains have to have that expensive fuel. That cost gets passed down to you.

Brinegar said the state’s businesses, as a whole, are doing well. But, the high costs are now or will take their toll.

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1 comment

Charles U Farley September 6, 2022 at 11:28 am

“Over 70 percent of those with college degrees are in the workforce, barely 50 percent of those with just a high school diploma”

Well, duh. A lot of the older generation has stopped working, but they still have their high school diploma. The “everyone needs a college degree” mentality was a Gen X thing, and Gen X is still in the labor market.

This is a prime example of a cherry picked statistic that is meaningless, but sounds REALLY scary.


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