DWD Providing Up to $11 Million for Regional Workforce Collaborations

INDIANAPOLIS (March 31, 2016) –In a sustained effort to meet an estimated one million jobs to fill by 2025, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) opened the second grant cycle for Skill UP Indiana!  The grant program will provide up to $11 million in funding to develop Indiana’s workforce for the jobs of tomorrow through industry-led regional partnerships aimed at aligning education and workforce needs and increasing the education attainment of Hoosiers.

“Skill UP is about providing access to the right training, at the right time, and taught in the right way to increase skill attainment and career opportunities for Hoosiers,” said Steven J. Braun, DWD Commissioner. “Aligning future employer demand with current and future workforce supply is critical for filling the one million-plus Indiana jobs projected to become available over the next decade.”

DWD research indicates that more than one-third of these jobs do not exist today.  Recognizing this opportunity and need, DWD is working with partners to develop a demand-driven workforce system to meet current and future workforce demand. The system aims to be statewide in scope to better serve stakeholders throughout Indiana, including business and industry, students, jobseekers, educators and policy makers.

Skill UP Indiana! is a critical part of this system as it encourages development of sector-focused training and education programs for in-demand occupations at the regional level in order to teach the necessary skills and competencies as identified by local employers. The regional partnerships also focus on employability skills (soft skills) instruction that can be utilized across all careers and work-and-learn opportunities for youth and adult learners.

Award recipients from first grant cycle included industry-led partnerships of businesses, K-12 and post-secondary education entities, CTE centers, adult education programs, workforce training providers, economic development partners and local government units. Highlights from the first group of recipients include:

  • Indianapolis Metro Area: Partnering manufacturers are providing for 115 Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics (AML) internships, 395 IT internships and 50 full-time jobs for tech-skilled students and new grads. They are also training 4,500 incumbent workers to attain a workforce credential.
  • Northwest Indiana: Partners plan to engage 275 workers in adult worker training activities to acquire the skills necessary to achieve sustainable employment. Their goal is for 85% of workers to secure an industry-recognized credential.
  • Greater Lafayette: Partners are collaborating on a ‘work and learn’ career pathway focused on the immediate and future hiring needs in the region. An anticipated 570 high school students will receive four weeks of occupational classroom training with hands-on simulations and five weeks of work-based learning experiences leading to full-time advanced manufacturing employment.
  • Southeast Indiana: Local employers seek to impact enrollments and success rates in education programs that link people to well-paying employment for a seamless pathway in advanced manufacturing. Focus areas include developing work and learn opportunities for high school students, expansion of project-based learning, growth of high school to employer pipelines and regional dropout prevention efforts.

“Last month, DWD awarded 13 regional partnerships more than $11 million in Skill UP grants, which are already being used to develop training and education programs that align to employer needs,” said Braun. “These programs enhance educational options for students and promote educational pathways that result in an immediate job in a high-demand occupation.”

Deadlines for letters of interest for the second cycle Skill UP grants are due by May 16, 2016 with final proposals due August 31, 2016. A private match of 25% is required, which may include in-kind contributions or services of up to 10% of total project cost. Additional information, technical assistance and other program guidance is available at www.in.gov/dwd/skillup.htm.

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