INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is facing a worker shortage and now Indiana leaders are working to come up with a solution.
More than 100 Indiana leaders, including corporate CEOs, university presidents, K-12 superintendents and state government officials, have joined a coalition to develop a statewide modern youth apprenticeship system in Indiana.
The group recently kicked off a 10-month Implementation Lab (referred to as an iLab), an intensive collaborative that will result in a comprehensive, statewide plan to increase the number of available modern youth apprenticeships. The youth apprenticeship model allows 11th grade high school students to participate in a three-year, paid work-and-learn program.
"We are gathering stakeholders across employers, high school, higher education to come up with a plan that would scale that really significantly over the next decade," Claire Fiddian-Green, the president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation said. "We want to make sure we are not only providing great opportunities for young people in our state, but we want to make sure that we’re also meeting the needs of employers and the economy."
Right now there are five pilot programs going on throughout the state and five in the works. There are 400 youth apprentices in the state. Cristina Llamas-Gonzalez is one of those apprentices through EmployIndy. She's a senior at Ben Davis High School and working in the HR Department at Plastic Recycling.
"I’m following HR professionals. I have multiple mentors a year. I absolutely love it," said Llamas-Gonzalez.
Indiana has a long-standing talent shortage which has only gotten worse with the pandemic. Indiana has a 63% labor force participation rate. Projections show that by 2031, 72% of jobs in the US will require post secondary education and training.
"Right now we’re really not on track to meet that need. Only 39% of Hoosier adults 25 years and older have an associates degree or a bachelors degree or more," said Fiddian-Green.
If you would like to participate in EmployIndy you can check with your high school. If you're an employer you can contact them directly.