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[r29] Column: Thriving in tomorrow’s economy
Start Date: 8/28/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/29/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

                     Thriving in tomorrow’s economy

Since the recession, Indiana has emerged as a leader in the nation’s recovery efforts. The legislature’s exertion to create a business-friendly environment, welded with the determination of the Hoosier workforce, has attracted businesses to expand and relocate here. Together, this combination has led to Indiana having the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs, as a portion of the private sector, than any other state.

Back from the low point of employment, July 2009, Indiana has added nearly 62,000 manufacturing jobs, which is 2nd highest in the nation, at a 14.4 percent growth-rate, also 2nd highest in the nation. In fact, Indiana led the nation in percentage of Trade, Transportation and Utilities jobs added in July as well.

Indiana continues to receive national attention due to the strength of our workforce and companies that employ highly-skilled Hoosiers, like SMC. With the U.S. headquarters located in Noblesville, SMC is a national leader in pneumatic technologies. Comprised of specialized, hard-working Hoosiers, the company was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 100 World’s Most Innovative Companies.

Announcements like these are welcomed news for our community, testifying that our workers and local businesses remain at the forefront of today’s job-market, but with an unemployment rate hovering stubbornly above 8 percent, more needs to be done so that Hoosiers can continue to be national leaders in today’s top industries. Within that 8 percent number is approximately 10,000 job openings in which employers can’t find the workers, skilled in the areas of computer, health and finance, to fill them.

That is why Gov. Mike Pence recently launched the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI), a significant stride towards improving education and workforce development. Aligning career training initiatives alongside education, the CECI will increase collaboration between Indiana’s top players in public, private and non-profit workforce development and education initiatives.

Some of those top players include: the Department of Education, the Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Charter School Board, the Commission for Higher Education and the Office of State-Based Initiatives. Additionally, independent groups that the legislature has helped create like the Indiana Career Council and Indiana Works Councils, will play a crucial role in the CECI as well.

Centered on results, clients and students, the group will work to provide quality education for children and better equip Hoosiers for new jobs to benefit their family. The CECI will incorporate innovative education and workforce tools, models and resources and work to support Hoosier educators by increasing their flexibility and freedom to succeed in the classroom to benefit their students. Accountability is vital and the CECI has transparency systems in place to hold students, workers, educators, schools, higher education institutions and workforce programs accountable.

As society evolves and new technologies alter the playing field, our workforce continues to adapt to meet the demands of our globally dynamic marketplace – especially in the Hoosier state. We owe a great deal to our Hoosier workforce, who continue Indiana’s legacy as one of the best states to work, live and raise a family in. If anyone is interested in learning more about the CECI, please visit www.in.gov/ceci.

With Labor Day just around the corner, this weekend serves as an enjoyable grand finale to the summer’s festivities. As special events, barbecues and pool parties are kicked-off, Hoosiers will join their friends and family for delicious food, great music and of course, wonderful fellowship in celebrating a holiday that dates back over 130 years. Whether you are participating in local events or relaxing by the pool, let us remember why we celebrate Labor Day, and together, honor the contributions made by American workers that helped forge the vitality and prosperity of our great nation.

I hope everyone stays safe this weekend and that you enjoy time spent with friends and family during this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy!

-30-

My column also appears in the Times of Noblesville.

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