Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

January 27, 2013

Pence calls for more vocational training to close ‘skills gap’

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence’s call, in his State of the State speech, to make vocational education a priority in every high school in Indiana struck a nerve with 75-year-old Bill Beach.

Since 2007, the founder of Beach Mold & Tool has tripled his work force, to 600, at his manufacturing operations in New Albany and sees more demand coming soon for the tools and plastic parts that his company makes.

But he can’t find enough qualified employees to work on his assembly lines or in some the supervisory and technical jobs that pay up to $30 an hour.

“We’re ready to hire people every day,” Beach said. “But our biggest challenge is finding people with the skills and with the work ethic to do the job.”

Beach knows the value of a good vocational education firsthand. As Pence recounted in his State of the State speech — to an audience that included Beach and his wife, Juanita — Beach was sent off for vocational training in high school by his father, who thought Beach was “good with his hands” but not smart enough to go to college.

Beach came out of that high school work-ready: He got a job as a machinist and later, with his wife, started his own company. An older brother who went off to college to get an engineering degree later came back to work for Beach.

Vocational education — in which students focus on skilled trades that require an increasing amount of technical know-how — can provide students “with a pathway to success,” Pence said in his State of State speech. “It can launch entrepreneurs, give kids a reason to finish high school, and create a well-qualified workforce that will encourage business to build here and grow here.”

Pence’s plan to boost career, vocational and technical education in Indiana high schools is driven by the “skills gap” that leaves employers like Beach frustrated. Despite a high unemployment rate — 8.2 percent in Indiana — there are manufacturing jobs that are going unfilled.

The exact number of jobs that are empty because employers can’t find workers with the right abilities is hard to track.

But the U.S. Department of Labor reports more there are more than 300,000 factory jobs waiting to be filled. In December, Indiana’s workforce development office reported more than 7,000 manufacturing jobs that were unfilled.

State Rep. Steve Stemler, a Democrat from Jeffersonville, said he was “very encouraged and supportive” of Pence’s intiative to strenghthen vocational training, both in high school and beyond.

Stemler, who heads a family-owned plumbing company that does both residential and commercial work, knows the need.

“We need to hire four additional well-trained plumbers right now,” Stemler said. “But we’re not able to find the workers with the proper skills sets.”

There are high schools around Indiana that offer vocational and technical training, but Pence’s plan calls for them to strenghthened and tied more directly to the demand for higher skilled workers.  

He wants, for example, for there to be much more engagement from employers who can help local school corporations design what he calls “demand-driven curriculum” focused on skills that lead to higher paying jobs and offer the potential for advancement. Those employers would also offer apprenticeships and internships that could lead to fulltime employment.

State Rep. Heath VanNatter, a Republican from Kokomo, is a supporter. VanNatter is a home builder who learned his craft in high school, attending the Kokomo Area Career Center, where he learned building construction and design.

“We actually built a house as part of the coursework,” VanNatter said. “That’s how I learned the business I’m in today.”  

Pence’s plan calls for an additional $18 million to be devoted to vocational education over the next two years. That’s on top of the $103 million already in his proposed education budget to be spent on vocational training in the state’s high schools.

Additional funding is critical, said Doug Dillion, director of career-technical

education at Vigo County School Corp. Especially, Dillion said, for vocational training in the high skill trades.

“I’m excited,” Dillion said. “But I’ll be more excited when I see the money.”

 

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • CORRECTION: Outdoor worship, barbecue at Goshen Christian Reformed Church not happening It was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's edition — the Briefly column on A3 — that Goshen Christian Reformed Church was to have an outdoor worship service and barbecue Thursday through Saturday. The event was submitted by a church with the same nam

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police cars hit during multi-county chase According to Middlebury police, officer Gary Smith attempted to locate a silver Saturn leaving McDonald’s on Ind. 13, near U.S. 20 in Middlebury at 11:30 p.m. Monday.

    August 19, 2014

  • GN140820 hospital network hacked.jpg Kosciusko Community, Lutheran hospital among 206 hacked

    WARSAW — Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals including Kosciusko Community Hospital and Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, announced Monday that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Perry Indicted [GOSHEN NEWS] Texas' Gov. Perry indicted AUSTIN, Texas — A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rail work to close U.S. 33 Sunday, Monday

    The Indiana Department of Transportation announced that U.S. 33 at Ninth Street, is scheduled to close the morning of Sunday, Aug. 17 as Norfolk Southern rebuilds its railroad crossing. 

    August 13, 2014

  • Obit Robin Williams_Selm.jpg Robin Williams, manic comedy star, dead at 63

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-12 [GOSHEN NEWS] Israel accepts Egypt's Gaza cease-fire proposal CAIRO — Israel and the Hamas militant group on Sunday accepted a renewed Egyptian cease-fire proposal, clearing the way for the resumption of talks on a long-term truce meant to end a month of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip that has taken nearly 2,000 lives.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Iraq [GOSHEN NEWS] US officials: New round of airstrikes near Irbil NEW DELHI — American officials say the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes against Islamic State targets near Irbil on Friday, using drones and fighter jets. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millersburg under boil order

    August 5, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results