Governor Mike Pence commended the Indiana Career Council for its diligence in meeting its second statutory reporting obligation, recently submitting its progress report to the Indiana General Assembly regarding the status of its strategic planning efforts. The report summarizes the findings of the council and its task forces to date.
"I'm humbled to work with such a proactive and distinguished group around the table," Pence told the council at a recent meeting. "These alliances are allowing us to quickly amass and analyze data, and our teams have been instrumental in gathering input and best practices from other states and workforce organizations to help guide future innovations and strategies in Indiana."
The council's two active task forces also provided recommendations, which were approved at Monday's November meeting, for inclusion in the report. The two committees have held twelve public meetings between them to gather information and deliberate state options. The council moved to approve recommendations from its Indiana Workforce Intelligence System (IWIS) Committee, chaired by Rep. Steve Braun, and the Community College Best Practices committee as reported by Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education.
"We're off to a good solid start," said Rep. Braun, whose group met five times in efforts to explore and analyze the state's workforce information system which tracks longitudinal data supporting education, training and career opportunities and salary levels. Improving the data network, which can be accessed by all Hoosiers, is seen as a developing strength in assisting students and families as they determine career pathways and educational investments in post-secondary and/or career training.
The task force recommended establishing an executive governance committee composed of the director and a representative from each participating state agency to ensure full consistency and understanding with the IWIS goals and future improvement, as well as suggesting that an outside third party expert assist in further development of clear, transparent, and usable data structures which ensure the confidentiality of data sources.
"We're ahead of the curve by far with what we're already doing," Braun told the council. "But everyone we've talked to has said that we need to have a functional governance model to ensure future success and collaboration."
Lubbers, reporting for Best Practices Task Force Chair Joe Loughrey, told the group their task force had consulted nationally with best practice experts in seeking out best community college programs, and would continue working with Ivy Tech and Vincennes to explore options for expansions such as co-requisite course offerings in Math and English and Industry Partnership Work-School Models.
The ultimate product of the Council's work was to approve the progress report contents including a framework for its strategic plan, which will be submitted to the legislature by July 1, 2014. The framework includes five specific objectives upon which the body will expand, including improved data collaboration, addressing worker shortages, and better workforce preparation. The council will host regional meetings to gather additional public input for the planning document, as council members continue to work with a variety of external working groups. Several of the groups will be making presentations at the upcoming council meetings, beginning next month and contributing through April.
"The council is working toward its goal of broad and timely assessments and improvement opportunities," said Governor Pence. "The task before us is critical to establish the most talented and desirable work force for our Hoosier employers and additional business expansions."
Created unanimously by the 2013 General Assembly, the Career Council is charged with developing a plan aligning and coordinating the activities conducted by groups within the state's education, job skills development, and career training system. It has worked to inventory job and career training activities as well as assess existing skill gaps between available jobs and Indiana's workforce.