As the end of year approaches, many job candidates are making New Year’s resolutions to find that dream job. Some employed workers are planning on the new year bring a significant career upgrade.
In order for that to actually happen, many will need to assess whether or not they have the skills identified as necessary by Indiana businesses. They will need to identify if they have a “skills gap”.
A skills gap is a significant gap between businesses’ current capabilities and the skills it needs to achieve its goals. It is the point at which an organization can no longer grow or remain competitive because it cannot fill critical jobs with workers who have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities.
The recent economic challenges brought on by the recession have forced businesses to execute their strategies with more precision than ever before and do it with fewer resources. But fewer employees mean a skills gap within their existing employee base.
Some experts predict that skills shortages will intensify in the coming years as employers find the need to hire more knowledge workers for high-skilled jobs that will help their organizations grow as the economy rebounds.
What is being done to address the problem?
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has worked with Indiana businesses to identify skill shortages that need to be addresses. According to the Workforce program, the skills businesses are looking for the most include:
· Reading Comprehension
· Active Listening
· Critical Thinking
· Active Learning
· Time Management
· Learning Strategies
· Social Perceptiveness
Indiana strives to be a leader in life sciences and advanced manufacturing. It is critical not to forget the all-important basic skills such as reading comprehension, active listening, and the other ten skills listed above. Businesses say that these skills are missing from the majority of job candidates being interviewed.
According to the Indiana Career Guide Skill Pathways to Your Future, basic skills are crucial for all types of occupations since they develop capacities that facilitate learning while specialized (or non-basic) skills are more specific to particular occupations.
New research has found that basic skills will be in the highest demand for Indiana’s growing occupations through 2014.
Using Workforce Development occupation projections, the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) found this pattern across Indiana’s 11 growth regions and even for jobs requiring different levels of preparation.
Among specialized skills, the projected needs for social skills (including coordination and instructing) are higher than needs for technical, systems and resource management skills.
This demand for social skills reflects predictions by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for large occupation growth in professional and business services, such as health care and social assistance, even within a manufacturing-intensive state like Indiana.
The Adult Education Program and the Strategic Skills Initiative are two programs developed and implemented by the DWD to help Indiana workers have the necessary skills for today’s jobs.
Ivy Tech Community College has a Workforce Certification and Assessment Program that offers training and certification in several programs. Their inventory includes more than 5,000 exams and assessments that can be administered at their 20 testing centers. In the last year, Ivy tech administered over 36,000 certification and professional licensure exams and over 188,000 assessments. Some of the certification programs offered include:
Alzheimer's Association of Indiana: Dementia Professional Certification
American Culinary Federation
American Nurses Credentialing Center
CompTIA (A+, Network+, etc.)
Indiana Department of Homeland Security: EMT and Fire Science
Indiana Department of Insurance
Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC)
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)
National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Ivy Tech has 20 training and testing centers across the state. The testing centers are designed to validate skills by providing Indiana residents with access to portable, third-party, industry-recognized credentials.
This is done in a variety of ways, including employment testing, skill assessments, certification testing and professional licensure testing. Over 36,000 certification/licensure exams were given in Ivy Tech testing centers last year.
Additionally, the centers administered over 188,000 employment assessments to companies and individuals from around the state.
As the employment landscape changes, so will the skill set needs of workers. Programs such as the ones at Ivy Tech and the Department of Workforce Development will help Indiana workers be prepared for a brighter future.