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Becky Frankiewicz

Becky Frankiewicz, North America president of ManpowerGroup, talks about changes in the workforce during Thursday's Economic Development Corp. Michigan City annual meeting.

MICHIGAN CITY — Employers need to adapt as the workforce changes, and so do workers, Becky Frankiewicz, North America president of ManpowerGroup, said Thursday.

Frankiewicz, speaking at the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City annual dinner at Blue Chip Casino, addressed trends in the workforce.

“The future is about learnability and adaptability. It’s not about what you have done, it’s about what you can do,” she said.

In the Midwest, there’s a job open for every person who is unemployed, she said, but there’s a reason there are still people unemployed.

“Forty-six percent of employers tell us we can’t find the skills we need,” she said.

Generally speaking, the more education a person has, the lower the unemployment rate:

  • 6.6 percent for high school dropout.
  • 4.9 percent for high school graduates.
  • 2.3 percent for college graduates.

But not everyone needs a four-year degree. Nor should every training program be lengthy.

In June, Frankiewicz said, Manpower will debut a new program in Michigan City offering 22 hours of training for jobs in transportation and logistics.

Manpower compares people and skills in its matchmaking process.

“It’s not about the job; it’s about the skills,” Frankiewicz said.

Old jobs are disappearing, and new jobs are emerging all the time.

“Part of my job is knowing what skills are in demand. I need to know that before you realize,” she told employers in the audience.

“The way people are working now is starting to change,” she added.

“We’re doing a lot of consulting now on how you can retain your workforce.”

That includes splitting jobs when workers like college students prefer part-time jobs to full-time employment, she said.

Promoting benefits offered by a company can help, too.

For millennials, offering more frequent micro-raises can be a better incentive than making them wait a full year for their raise.

“People can find better options,” she said, especially if they have the right skills.

“Skills are the new currency.”

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.