Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local 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
Local News
  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • police lights.jpg Rural Middlebury woman found dead after fire

    Blaze reported shortly after midnight

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • Middlebury council OKs payment for sewage plant work MIDDLEBURY — On Monday, the Middlebury Town Council approved a pay application of $426,117 for Fetters Construction Co. of Auburn for Contract A of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Project in Middlebury. According to Town Manager Mark Sale

    July 23, 2014

  • Harness Racing Crowd Harness racing a fan favorite at 4-H Fair GOSHEN — There is no question about the popularity of the three-day harness racing program at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 fair senior day 02 4-H FAIR: Senior citizens enjoy day despite temps GOSHEN — It was a warm day Tuesday, but that didn’t stop hundreds of senior citizens from stopping by for a snack and a walk through the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140723 fair shuffle board 02 4-H Fair: Shuffleboard tourney a source of fun GOSHEN — A little friendly banter could be heard among the shuffleboard players as they competed at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charlotte.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County looking for loving, permanent homes. This month the HSEC has a Hot Dogs and Cool Cats special. Adopt in July and receive 25 percent off your adoption fee for dogs and cats under 5 years old or 50 percent off those 5-years-old or better.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 Sanders fair faces FAIR FACES: Austin Sanders enjoys success, versatility as 10-year 4-Her

    It’s tough to say in which Elkhart County 4-H Fair livestock barn you’re most likely to find 10-year 4-H member Austin Sanders.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

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.
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel