Three Central Indiana Innovation Networks Among 11 Groups to Receive Skill UP Grant Funding from DWD

INDIANAPOLIS (May 17, 2018) — Three Innovation Networks covering 10 counties in East Central Indiana are among 11 Innovation Networks that will be formed thanks to a grant from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s employer-driven Skill UP Indiana! program. The Skill UP program, in its third year, provides funding to form and operate a collaborative group of educational, business and workforce stakeholders charged with developing the talent supply chain in local communities.

Health & Science Innovations (IDEAA) will receive $924,000. This group covers Marion, Hamilton, Boone, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Morgan, Shelby and Bartholomew counties. Their mission is to develop pathways that are sensitive to individuals with different academic/career backgrounds connecting participants to employment opportunities, and implement enhanced and scalable work based learning opportunities.

The Hamilton County Workforce Innovation Network will receive $1.46 million. Its goal is to increase talent pipeline supply, Organize work-and-learn opportunities at multiple stages of a career pathway system, and Designing sector-focused career pathway systems that include stackable and portable, standards-based, industry recognized credentials

Finally, the Hendricks Logistics Sector Partnership will receive $601,750. The group’s stated purpose is to engage opportunities in work based learning like internships, externships, mentoring, and job shadowing will expose current students, administrators, teachers and parents to the potential career in TDL. A total of $9.546 million will be given out to the 11 Skill UP grant recipients statewide.

In 2017, the third round of Skill UP Indiana! funding was announced, and 96 consortiums covering all 92 Indiana counties submitted initial applications of interest.  Applicants had to focus on attracting and retaining talent in one or more of Indiana’s priority sectors, which include advanced manufacturing, building and construction trades, health care, information technology, and logistics and transportation.  The 11 Networks chosen to receive the grants each demonstrated a diverse, engaged and extensive list of partners that were committed to addressing local talent needs.

“Innovation Networks are fundamental to addressing our current workforce challenges as they are locally-driven and employer-led consortiums that align education and training programs to high-demand, high-wage career opportunities,” said DWD Commissioner Fred Payne.  “Many of these jobs to fill will come from more than 100 occupations requiring specialized training or certification in addition to a high school diploma.”

Innovation networks create a talent pipeline that is matched to the requirements of employers’ current and future workforce needs.  The grants, which cover two years, require a private match by the recipients, and financially support the partnerships to provide more and better avenues for skill-specific training and certification.

“The large number of Skill UP Indiana! applications received, which more than doubled the previous two rounds, are a reflection of the desire to develop local talent through effective collaboration,” said DWD Associate Chief Operating Officer for Employer Engagement Mike Barnes.  “After a very thorough and multi-agency review process, we have selected these three Innovation Networks to support local employers and expand the talent pipeline.”

Skill UP Indiana! was originally launched in 2015. Grants awarded vary in amount, and depend on resource needs, anticipated outcomes and engagement levels of participants.  Some of the outcomes DWD seeks when evaluating grant applications are an understanding of employer demands, ensuring that training programs meet employer needs, providing easily-accessible training programs, establish shared resources, and establishing internships, apprenticeships and other forms of stackable training.

Successful results have been achieved from Skill UP rounds 1 and 2.  Since April 2016, 44,649 Indiana youth and adults have been directly connected to career or job awareness around occupations in demand in their communities as a direct result of Skill UP; 2,653 have received industry-recognized credentials or certifications, 2,006 have received dual-credit, 2,655 have completed Work and Learn and apprenticeship opportunities, and more than 2,400 (and counting) have achieved employment in a high-wage, high-demand career.

More information about Skill UP Indiana! can be found at

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