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In this issue..
Working at Lieber State Recreational Area in Cloverdale as a member of the Young Hoosier Conservation Corps (YHCC), Matt Hannel has decided to pursue a degree and turn what he has learned on the job into a fulltime career. The YHCC program that Matt is involved in is providing job opportunities to approximately 2,000 Hoosiers ages 18 to 24.
The program offers employment through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Participants working with DNR are revitalizing historic buildings, creating and rehabilitating trails and restoring acres of natural habitat. Participants employed at INDOT facilities are working in emergency cleanup, maintenance of traffic signs, equipment refurbishing and beautification of Indiana’s highway rest areas and interchanges.
Matt said he has garnered new skills working at the state park. A typical day for him could entail anything from lawn care to working with exotic trees or animal removal.
“I think it’s a great program for youth to learn many different jobs, which can then be chalked down to work experience,” says Matt.
He adds, “The best part of working for a state park is that you’re outside everyday and you get plenty of exercise.”
Matt said beyond the obvious benefit of working amongst the beautiful Indiana scenery, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and its WorkOne centers offer great counseling to the youth who are involved in the YHCC program.
“Not only does the program give you a great job, but anytime you need help or you are looking for schooling opportunities it is always available,” said Matt, who is working his second year in the YHCC program.
YHCC members work with WorkOne career counselors to develop a career path. The counselor assists with finding education and training that will help the YHCC member get started in the career of his or her choice. The counselors have several resources including the Workforce Acceleration Grant to help Hoosiers get the training they need.
“WorkOne can assist with the cost of college tuition and books,” said Joseph Williams, WorkOne Youth Program Coordinator. “The Workforce Acceleration Grant is designed to help Hoosiers pay for education and training to prepare for in-demand jobs. The program provides eligible youth and adults with up to $3,000 per academic year to help cover tuition, fees and book costs for an associate degree or a vocational certification at more than 50 colleges and universities across the state.”
Governor Mitch Daniels created YHCC in 2009 using federal stimulus funds available for summer employment and training to young Hoosiers.
The Wall Street Journal is taking note of job growth in the Hoosier State - “Indiana has seen the largest percentage increase in jobs through the year.” (States See Job Growth, June 19, 2010, Conor Doughtry). In fact, the state has seen five consecutive months of job gains. Indiana’s 2 percent employment growth since the end of last year leads the nation in private sector and total employment growth. U.S. total private sector employment has grown 0.5 percent over the same period, with total employment gains of 0.7 percent. In Indiana, gains in the private sector are led by hiring and recalls in professional and business services (including temporary services), manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality. The city of Elkhart experienced some of the largest job losses, and while there may be a lot of ground to make up, it is also showing gains. Manufacturing has grown by 3.4 percent since last year and the city has seen an increase of 6,400 in transportation equipment manufacturing since May 2009.
New Hires and Job Openings
Unfortunately, with 1 in 10 still unemployed, the question remains whether the fast pace of job growth will continue, and if these new hires will be sustained? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, the Midwest is leading the nation out of the current economic downturn. Hires for the Midwest region have increased steadily since the summer of 2009 and are now close to 1.1 million for April of 2010. This is nearly equal to the 2005 average. As Indiana’s employment growth ranks highest among the Midwest states, we have some assurance that the increasing hires rate for the Midwest region represents the story for Indiana as well.
Job openings will typically precede trends for hiring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings data shows gains for the U.S. since July of 2009. As with the total hires data, job opening gains began to increase 10 months ago, preceding employment gains for Indiana and for the U.S. As the job openings and hire rates continue to trend upward, we should continue to see growth for the Midwest and region in the short-term. This may be a “leading” economic indicator. As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the level for job openings peaked in March of 2007 and then began to decline, yet employment peaked a full 9 months later in December of 2007. At the official start of the recession in December 2007, the number of job openings had already declined to 4.4 million. With the current trend on the rise for job openings and hires, this is a positive indicator for future growth and continued hiring.
Although we don’t have data specific to Indiana, we can examine the trend for the Midwest and have a good idea that this is representative for Indiana. We know that Indiana’s employment gains lead the U.S. and regional trends thus far, and can hope to see increased job openings leading to new hires in coming months.
Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, two new tax benefits are available to employers who hire workers who were previously unemployed or only working part time.
The first, the payroll tax exemption, provides employers with an exemption from the employer’s 6.2 percent share of Social Security tax on wages paid to qualifying employees for wages paid from March 19, 2010 through December 31, 2010. The reduced tax withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits, and employers would still be required to withhold the employee’s 6.2 percent share.
The second new tax benefit allows a business to claim an additional general business tax credit, up to $1,000 for each worker who is retained for at least one year, when they file their 2011 income tax return.
The two tax benefits are especially helpful to employers who are adding positions to their payrolls. New hires filling existing positions also qualify but only if the workers are replacing someone who left voluntarily or for cause. Relatives do not qualify for this program. For additional information about the HIRE program check out the IRS Website at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=220745,00.html
Employers can also take advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) which offers tax savings to businesses that hire individuals belonging to various targeted groups who have consistently had difficulty in securing and retaining employment. The credit helps offset the federal tax liability of private, for-profit employers.
Eligible employers can claim both the WOTC and the new hire retention credit for the same employee. However, an employer may not claim both the payroll tax exemption and the WOTC for the same employee.
IndianaCAREERconnect.com, the largest source of Indiana jobs, is celebrating its two year anniversary. Since launching in July of 2008, thousands of job seekers have turned to the site for their job search.
In July of 2008, IndianaCAREERconnect.com received more than 22 million hits. Over the past month, it received more than 131 million hits, almost a 500 percent increase in two years. Each month, as more Hoosiers turn to IndianaCAREERconnect.com, employers are taking notice and posting their positions on the site.
Currently, there are over 25,000 available jobs on IndianaCAREERconnect.com.
IndianaCAREERconnect.com is not only designed to help Hoosier job seekers find employment, it is also easy for employers to find job candidates. The site offers employers free job postings, access to thousands of Hoosier job candidates and customized searches to find the right candidates out of thousands of job seekers.
All IndianaCAREERconnect.com services are free to job seekers and employers. If you need assistance with any of the site’s services, visit your local WorkOne Center. The professional employment staff can help you get an account set up today so you can begin your job search or fill your open positions.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for its 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards. These awards spotlight projects that advance innovation, boost competitiveness and create jobs. It honors the nation’s best minds and the great work they are doing to create jobs.
Entries will be accepted until August 27, 2010. The award categories are:
* Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs)
* Innovation in Commercialization
* Innovation in Global Export Promotion
* Innovation in Green Technology
For more information on the 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards and how to apply, visit: www.eda.gov/NewsEvents/InnovationAwards.xml.
The competition was formerly known as the EDA Excellence in Economic Development Awards.
With unemployment remaining at high levels, it is encouraging to see that the Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Indiana as the national leader in job growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state gained 47,900 private sector jobs in the first five months of this year. The Hoosier state accounts for two percent of the U.S. population but 10 percent of its job growth.
Business growth is welcome news and we can help. Recruiting and hiring new employees can be time consuming and intimidating, but, through the assistance of your local WorkOne business consultant, these issues can quickly be addressed. WorkOne staff can help you post your open positions on IndianaCAREERconnect.com, providing you with access to thousands of Hoosier job candidates. Customized searches are also available, allowing you to find the right candidates for your open position.
Once potential candidates have been identified, WorkOne staff can streamline the hiring process by screening applicants for you. This can be done at your office or at a WorkOne Center, allowing you to keep your workspace free for meetings and training.
WorkOne can also help companies with training new or current employees. We offer a variety of programs, including self-directed courses accessible from any location 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employee training will reduce turnover by ensuring new employees can do the job and boost the quality of work and skills of current employees, saving time and money by increasing production and retention rates.
I encourage all companies to speak with a local WorkOne business consultant. There are numerous programs available including tax credits and incentives, training, hiring and recruitment. Whether you are developing, expanding, or consolidating your business, WorkOne staff have the tools and resources to facilitate your needs.
Mark W. Everson