COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Indiana businesses struggling to find skilled workers to fill specialized jobs could get a hand from Ivy Tech Community College through a new statewide push to help match companies with training that will give them the employees they need.
The college is working to make businesses aware that it can create training programs tailored for their specific needs.
Economists say the U.S. must create 300,000 jobs each month to bring unemployment down to pre-recession levels by 2013. But many of those jobs will require specific skill sets that are in short supply and require more than a high school diploma or GED.
"Companies are begging for talent, and we simply don't have it," said Sue Smith, Ivy Tech's statewide corporate executive of manufacturing and technology. "We have to work together to figure this out."
The Republic reports (http://bit.ly/pyWiZb ) the Obama administration has committed billions to support community colleges' work force development efforts over the next decade. One initiative, Skills for America's Future, links businesses and community colleges to address unemployment and help employers find workers with the right skills.
Smith said Ivy Tech has been working with companies like Honda Manufacturing of Indiana to customize training programs for their specific needs. She said the school can provide more specialized training, often at a lower cost than many companies can find elsewhere.
Honda spokeswoman Anita Sipes said the company could send employees from its Greensburg plant to Honda's Ohio facility for training. But Ivy Tech is closer, she said.
Jack Hess of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce said workers need to adjust their mindset about what training they need in order to compete for jobs today. A traditional high school-to-four-year college track isn't producing enough qualified workers, he said.
"We need to create more ways to win," he said.
Smith said many companies continue to use their own staff to develop and deliver training, or they pay the manufacturer of new software or equipment to train employees.
She said she hopes to connect businesses throughout the state with Ivy Tech's programs, but she acknowledged that there are challenges as companies struggle to find the resources for training.
"They are in pain financially. At the same time, they need employees," Smith said.
"But at some point, companies are going to have to back up and give employees a clear way to grow. Eventually the need will become so great that they're going to have to figure this out."