New IndianaSkills.com Site Improved to Feature Array of Job Opps

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation hope the new version of the IndianaSkills.com database will help alert Hoosiers to the array of job opportunities in demand in their region and statewide.

IndianaSkills.com – developed as resource to help employers, workers and prospective employees – debuted in late 2012 with job supply and demand data for occupations that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. Now, job postings for the bachelor degree level and higher are also featured on the web site.

What’s more, the data updates include postings and analysis for all jobs from January 2013 through June 2014. Other additions include a listing of experience required for each job posted and direct links to training providers.

The Indiana Chamber believes workforce, which is embedded in the Outstanding Talent driver of the organization’s Indiana Vision 2025 economic development action plan for the state, remains the biggest challenge to Indiana’s economic prosperity.

“There is a tremendous amount of education and workforce data available through various sources,” explains Amy Marsh, director of college and career readiness initiatives for the Indiana Chamber. “What IndianaSkills.com does is aggregate that information, add in the job postings data and make it easy for job seekers and employers to learn what is taking place in their industry or region of the state.”

Marsh adds that two entries to the site – middle skills (jobs requiring certificates, certifications and associate’s degrees) and all jobs – allow users to search for the data that best meets their needs. In addition to the most in-demand jobs, available information includes average salaries, required skills, training needed and job status/earnings of recent graduates.

Some of the key trends emerging from the update:

  • High numbers of sales jobs (sales representatives, sales managers, retail sales, retail supervisors) available across industry sectors
  • Growing number of information technology positions (computer specialist, software development, software engineer, computer support, network administrator, network engineer) with low supplies of graduates in these fields. The job growth in this sector is especially strong in Central Indiana
  • Tractor-trailer truck driver remains the position with the most job postings – more than 30,000
  • Communications tops the baseline skills needs – listed in more than 168,000 job postings

“Another interesting development is that seven of the top 10 certifications needed by employees are in the health care industry,” Marsh says. “Separately, since higher skilled jobs were added into the database, physician makes the top 10 most in-demand list in several regions, including the Lafayette and Terre Haute areas. Also, treatment planning is new to the list of specialized skills that are sought.”

On the updated site, employers maintain the opportunity to easily download customized job descriptions. They can learn about regional and state occupational trends, wages being paid for similar positions, and the skills and credentials they should be requiring for their open positions. Career development professionals can take advantage of IndianaSkills.com to better guide students on available career options and the training required for those positions.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar: “The Indiana School Counseling Research Review released by the Indiana Chamber Foundation earlier this year clearly identified the need for more effective counseling. IndianaSkills.com is one resource in that effort.

“The Indiana Vision 2025 plan has four drivers, but from day one we’ve identified Outstanding Talent as the most critical need. A tool like IndianaSkills.com that helps match education and training with the skills required in the workplace is part of the solution.”

IndianaSkills.com is a product of the Indiana Chamber Foundation with support from the Joyce Foundation and Lilly Endowment Inc.

Workin’ for a Livin’

I was really excited to get to see country mega-group Alabama in concert recently. I’d been brushing up on their music, and one hit song really stuck out to me because it’s incredibly applicable to the message we share at Indiana Skills.

It’s called “Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’),” and the song glorifies middle-skill jobs and the individuals who do them. It’s really quite inspirational. One line of the chorus goes, “Hello Detroit auto worker, let me thank you for your time. You work a 40-hour week for a living, just to send it on down the line.” The song also highlights farmers, steel workers, coal miners and several other hard-working folks.

One comment on the video struck me. It reads, “The sad part is that most of these jobs are automated now.” The Ready Indiana staff has traveled from Lafayette to Columbus to Princeton to Valparaiso, and we can tell you that hands-on labor is not dead. In fact, it’s where a good portion of the job demand in Indiana lies. And these jobs make good careers. See the facts at www.IndianaSkills.com.

And be sure to check out this classic country tune:

Understand Job Demand When Pursuing Higher Ed Options

Business Insider posted an article recently titled “I Consider Law School a Waste of My Life and an Extraordinary Waste of Money.” While this represents just one person’s experience, the narrative paints a startling picture of the realities some people face in this microcosm of higher education.

The article is a Q&A with an anonymous 28-year-old lawyer who says he incurred a “life-destroying” amount of debt by going to law school, with nothing to show for it now.

“Never in my worst nightmares did I think I’d find myself with $200,000 in debt, making less than $50,000, struggling to find job openings and to move on in my career,” he writes. “I live with my parents. I don’t have a car. I don’t go out to socialize. I don’t date. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t buy electronics. I don’t buy much of anything.”

After he graduated from law school, he moved around small law firms for two years, even working for free as an intern at one point. Then, he worked for a $12,000 annual salary; after three months he got a raise to $24,000. Now, he works for a $45,000 salary with 15% of it going to his law school loans on an income-based repayment plan.

“There is an enormous oversupply of JDs in the United States. Low-paying jobs routinely receive hundreds of resumes from desperate law school grads,” he concludes. “I think getting a computer science undergrad or even community college degree leads to a more positive economic outcome than law school the vast majority of the time.”

Though Indiana needs more bachelor’s degree graduates too (in certain degree tracks), IndianaSkills.com was created to help meet employer and employee needs in a very specific area. The greatest job demand in Indiana is in the middle skills, meaning Indiana’s economy needs many more workers with sub-baccalaureate skills and credentials (associate’s degrees, certifications, certificates). Not all degrees and credentials are created equal – we encourage all students and job seekers to understand Indiana’s labor market demand when making choices about further education. IndianaSkills.com is one resource to find that information.

Attainment Goals Aim to Bridge Skills Gap

Jamie Merisotis of the Lumina Foundation recently spoke with the Indiana Chamber Foundation Board of Directors. He discussed Lumina’s main goal – to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certifications and other credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

In the projections of what the U.S. will need in reaching the 60% goal, the number of degrees that would need to be produced between now and then is 23 million. Of those 23 million, estimates are that 10 million are credentials below the Associate's degree level.

Fifty-five percent of all Indiana jobs will require a post-secondary credential by 2018; right now, only 34% of working-age Hoosiers hold an Associate’s degree or higher. Between now and 2025, Indiana will need to produce about 600,000 more credentials than we are on the path to producing to reach the 60% goal.

IndianaSkills.com is committed to sharing current labor market data, and one main goal is to show job seekers what jobs are in demand in order to begin bridging this “skills gap.” These attainment goals are achievable with the good work of organizations like Lumina, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, state workforce agencies and many others.

Taking the Certificate Route

Certificate programs are all the rage (that's a good thing) in higher education. IndianaSkills.com, a part of the Chamber's Ready Indiana initiative, has data and more on the effort to close the skills gap in our state. For a broader perspective on certificates, the Wall Street Journal recently offered the following:

Increasingly crucial to the community colleges that have long catered to students who pursue two-year degrees or get basic credits before attending four-year schools, certificate programs not only cost less on average than a year at college but they also bring higher salaries than those received by job candidates with high school diplomas.

  • Certificate programs are the fastest-growing segment of higher education, drawing younger and older students alike.
  • From 2001 to 2011, the number of certificates of one year or less awarded by public community colleges more than doubled to about 249,000 from about 106,000.
  • Overall, associate degrees at public community colleges increased over the same period, but at a slower rate — from about 443,000 to about 682,000.

The growing interest in certificates follows years of skepticism about noncredit programs, as some observers saw them as gimmicks that had little value beyond the paper they were printed on, while degrees were often regarded as guaranteed pathways to jobs.

The average annual cost of certificate programs is $6,780 at a public community college and $19,635 at a for-profit college. The push toward certificates highlights a growing emphasis on efficiency and completion rates in higher education, an approach that has gained particular traction since President Barack Obama's call for an additional 5 million graduates from community colleges by 2020.