February 1, 2021
The ongoing fight against COVID-19 has put the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) in the headlines nearly every day with the unprecedented number of unemployment claims coming through each week. Since March, DWD jumped from about 2,500 weekly claims to a high of more than 139,000. Since then, DWD has paid out $6.4 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to nearly 785,000 Hoosiers.
With or without the challenges of a national pandemic, DWD works to ensure the growth and continued strength of our economy through employment initiatives. These initiatives include providing Hoosiers with ways to obtain a job or advance their careers—such as training, employment programs, job search resources and unemployment insurance systems.
DWDs goals include the creation and administration of programs to enable Indiana’s workforce to be the finest in the nation, and the payment of unemployment claims to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
In this month’s Money Monday, DOR explores several ways DWD fulfills its goals to help Hoosiers.
Helping Adults Get A Quality Education for Free
Did you know roughly 500,000 Hoosiers do not have a high school diploma, which can severely decrease their income and career opportunities? DWD’s Adult Education Program offers participants the opportunity to increase their skills and obtain industry-recognized credentials, earn their high school diploma and receive industry-specific training in order to acquire suitable employment. Available virtually and in-person, classes are provided in over 250 locations throughout the state.
Preparing Hoosiers for Next Level Jobs
In 2020, DWD received roughly $50 million through the CARES Act—$22 million was allocated to the Workforce Ready Grant and $15 million to the Employer Training Grant. Another $5 million was set aside to specifically reimburse minority, women or veteran-owned businesses. The remaining funds were used to directly help Hoosiers find steady employment and communicating these programs to the public.
- The Workforce Ready Grant allows any Hoosier with a high school diploma to take courses and get certified in many of Indiana’s highest demand job markets for free. Funds from the CARES Act will allow over 10,000 Hoosiers to take advantage of the Workforce Ready Grant.
- Employers looking to help their employees further their careers can take advantage of the Employer Training Grant. This free training is offered in areas of manufacturing, construction and health sciences. With the CARES Act funding, employers may qualify for up to $100,000 to train their employees each year and more than 25,000 Hoosiers could take advantage.
Serving Hoosier Veterans by Helping Them Find Employment
DWD is committed to providing quality employment services to veterans at their WorkOne Centers, where veteran representatives can assist with employment needs. WorkOne representatives are trained in a variety of veteran-specific services, including translating military experiences into civilian job skills, veterans service organizations, instruction on accessing Veteran’s Assistance (VA) benefits and the Reemployment Rights Act.
Growing the Skills of High School Students
DWD’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program helps students overcome their academic challenges in order to graduate while also providing in-demand skills and a bridge to their post-secondary education. JAG Indiana has grown to be one of the largest affiliates in the national network, with 130 programs statewide. In the 2018-19 academic year, 96% of JAG students in Indiana graduated from high school, with 66% employed.
Providing Online Career Resources
DWD’s IndianaCareerReady.com is an online resource that has all the tools Hoosiers need to prepare and find high-demand and high-wage jobs needed now and in the future in one place.
Some of the resources available include:
- Indiana Career Connect – allows you to view available job openings and apply for jobs. Job seekers can put in their location, desired salary and other options to find a job that is the right fit for them all for free.
- Indiana Career Explorer – is a career planning system for all Hoosiers. You can explore jobs, assess your skills and develop a plan to get the education you need to begin planning for your future career.
- INDemand Jobs – is a listing of Indiana’s most in-demand occupations. The online database shows Hoosiers job titles, what type of education is needed, the average salary and opportunities to apply for jobs or training to grow your skills to get these jobs.
Additionally, a partnership between the State of Indiana and 180 Skills, an online learning library allows up to 100,000 Hoosiers to gain key workforce skills and is free to use! The 180 Skills partnership is part of Indiana’s “Rapid Recovery for a Better Future” initiative led by the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.
For more information on each of these programs and all the great work, DWD does to grow jobs and careers in Indiana visit the DWD website.