Tuition, Training Grants Part Of Gov. Holcomb’s $24M Jobs Plan
By Mike Perleberg
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb speaks at Hillenbrand, Inc. in Batesville on Tuesday, August 15. Photo provided.
(Batesville, Ind.) – Governor Eric Holcomb visited Batesville on Tuesday to tout his new plan to help meet Indiana’s workforce needs.
“Now more than ever, our state needs to ramp up efforts to prepare Hoosiers for the jobs available today—and for the one million more we expect over the next decade,” Holcomb said from Hillenbrand, Inc.’s headquarters.
The Next Level Jobs Initiative dedicated $24 million in taxpayer funds over the next two years to grow the number of machinists, welders, medical assistants, information technology specialists, other jobs in high demand.
About $14 million of the funds is a Workforce Ready Grant to cover tuition costs for citizens seeking training, certifications, or degrees in those fields at either Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University. The first two years of the grants will be paid for through $4 million provided by the General Assembly plus more than $10 million CHE financial aid funds.
The other $10 million will reimburse employers up to $2,500 per worker they provide training for through an Employer Training Grant, another program approved by lawmakers earlier this year. The Department of Workforce Development will launch a pilot of the grant for 2018 and 2019.
State Rep. Cindy Zeimke (R-Batesville) said although Indiana’s unemployment rate is low – just 3.0 percent in June – the state has a shortage of highly trained and skilled workers.
“In fact, over the next decade there will be more than 1 million job openings in Indiana. In order to continue positioning Hoosier workers and job creators for success, the Next Level Jobs initiative better aligns education and training with employer needs, while also providing the tools and resources job seekers need to find higher-paying jobs,” Ziemke said.
Blair Milo, the first Secretary of Career Connections and Talen for the State of Indiana, joined Holcomb on his media tour to promote the Next Level Jobs plan. She will help ensure that Hoosiers and employers are connected with the new grants, colleges, and other workforce programs.
“Connecting business leaders and employees will continue to be a key focus as workforce demands grow, as baby boomers retire and our economy expands and diversifies,” Milo said. “Next Level Jobs presents a streamlined way for Hoosiers and employers to access state resources and programs that help address our workforce needs.”
Fast applications for both the Workforce Ready and Employer grants are available online at www.NextLevelJobs.org. After submitting an application, Hoosiers and employer applicants will receive individualized contact from DWD or an eligible training provider within 48 hours.