Finding a good job is a daily challenge for many in the Wabash Valley. Finding good employees for companies providing those jobs is also a challenge.
Tom McClanahan looks at that problem and what is being done in his special report, "Bridging the Workforce Gap."
Tom reports one of the simplest ways to bridge that workforce gap, for both employers and those getting a good job is to research, research, research.
Every school, college and university is changing to try to provide better skilled and more hireable workers for the jobs that are created here.
Ivy Tech, for example, is partnering with Indiana Railroad to develop a diesel program that will pay off for a possible career for youIvy Tech's Dr. Anne Valentine says, "There are some 11,000 jobs in the rail industry available right now in Indiana and Chicagoland with average salaries well over $100,000 a year, so when we think about, for example, introducing diesel technology on this campus, we know we can say, 'There are great jobs in the rail industry which will take students who have some diesel experience."
So, an area at the former Doughmakers building will soon be renovated to provide just that.
And you can find examples of that in a school near you.
At Lake Land College, programs like the one training future employees at North American Lighting are benefitting both those looking for work and the company that needs them.
Lake Land's Brian Haskins says, "We can offset training for local industry with these types of programs by saving the cost to local industry by getting these basic needs in and basic skill sets."
Those basic skills include engineering and technology and business and family science and can be learned early. Middle school programs are available in Vigo County to do just that. But just as important at learning skills to do a job, are those that you need to "get" the job.
Doug Dillion of Vigo County schools says, "When you go to a job interview, there's a certain way you dress, when you talk in industry, you don't use text lingo, you don't end a job interview, throw out an lol or omg."
Don't forget one thing that more and more businesses are doing to find a better worker:
Taghleef Industry's Ken Baker says, "Uh, they're drug free which is important to say in this community."
Dillion adds, "Many people don't realize a lot of manufacturing do drug tests and if you use drugs that eliminates your ability to get that job."
Another good tip is to approach a business where you might like to work and see what they have to offer before that offer is made.
(Brian Haskins) "A lot of the folks that we work with on our advisory councils are more than happy to say, 'here's what we do, here's some great opportunities in manufacturing that we don't even know are there."
And the government is doing more to help bridge that gap. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly has co-sponsored a bill called the "Skills Gap Strategy Act" that will encourage industry even more to help potential workers learn the skills to get the job.
So, you can see both employer and employee can do things to help bridge that workforce gap. By doing so, the future looks brighter for both here in the Wabash Valley.