Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Indiana's big challenge: Talent

Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015

Gerry Dick, InsideINdianaBusiness.com

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith, left, says while he is encouraged by a shrinking unemployment rate and expanding work force, talent remains a major issue confronting future economic growth. “The largest impediment we have to continue economic growth in the state of Indiana is going to be employees,” said Smith during an interview on Inside Indiana Business Television.

“We have to continue to attract and grow our labor force,” said Smith. Last week, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released an employment report showing private sector employment hit an all-time high in July.

This totally eclipses the previous mark set in March 2000 by 2,200 jobs. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent, its lowest level since November 2007, as the state added 10,000 individuals to the labor force.

“The Indiana labor force is increasing, while neighboring states have a contracting labor force … people are leaving,” said Smith.

But Smith cautions Indiana must keep a focus on talent development. He sees the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s Regional Cities Initiative as critical for economic growth in the state. The $84 million effort is designed to encourage regional collaboration and the creation of quality of place projects that will help grow the talent pipeline. “It’s a people play,” emphasizes Smith. “This is not a shell building to attract manufacturers; the economic game here is to attract people.”

Multiple regions around the state have been busy establishing regional development authorities, identifying projects and potential funding sources. Their proposals are due by the end of August, with winners to be announced in the month of December.