Many Hoosiers are experiencing unemployment, reduced hours, or furloughs from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those jobs may not come back, meaning workers will need to learn new skills to help them realize new opportunities.
We often hear community and business leaders talk about the need for a skilled workforce. There are two key parts to meeting that need: identifying which skills are in demand and providing opportunities for workers to learn those skills, and preparing our future workforce.
The regional workforce partners are providing solutions. Ivy Tech recently launched 10,000 free trainings and classes to help Hoosiers explore their next career steps and learn new skills in high-demand areas. The non-credit trainings cover in-demand areas such as advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and computer programming. Brooklyn Burton, Ivy Tech’s workforce alignment consultant, said that the college has been able to serve over 5,000 Hoosiers since the program’s inception earlier this summer.
Other organizations are also working with our students on the skills needed for the future. The Greater Lafayette Career Academy provides certifications and licensing opportunities for high school juniors and seniors. The Greater Lafayette Builders Association holds an annual expo for career exploration and career pathway awareness in the construction building industry. Greater Lafayette Commerce ties it all together and works with K-12 to educate about careers in manufacturing, coding and robotics. All these are in high demand.
Pulling our regional workforce together to lift and gain new skills takes a team of organizations working together. Our region has done that for many years and continues to help maintain a skilled workforce.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.