DWD Announces $9.546 Million in Grant Funding for Innovation Networks

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s employer-driven Skill UP Indiana! program, now in its third year, has announced the recipients of $9.546 million in competitive grant funding that will be awarded to 11 “Innovation Networks.”

The grants provide funds for developing the talent supply chain in local communities, specifically focused this year on assisting and recognizing employer-led Innovation Networks.  Stakeholders include K-12 institutions, community colleges, career/technical education providers, higher education institutions, adult education providers, economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, community foundations, and workforce development agencies.

In 2017, the third round of Skill UP Indiana! funding was announced, and 96 consortiums covering all 92 Indiana counties submitted initial applications of interest.  Applicants had to focus on attracting and retaining talent in one or more of Indiana’s priority sectors, which include advanced manufacturing, building and construction trades, health care, information technology, and logistics and transportation.  DWD provided technical assistance by convening community meetings for each of the applicants as they further defined and refined their local and regional workforce challenges and provided support for the communities to facilitate alignment between their education and training partners.  The 11 Networks chosen to receive the grants each demonstrated a diverse, engaged and extensive list of partners that were committed to addressing local talent needs.

“Innovation Networks are fundamental to addressing our current workforce challenges as they are locally-driven and employer-led consortiums that align education and training programs to high-demand, high-wage career opportunities,” said DWD Commissioner Fred Payne.  “Many of these jobs to fill will come from more than 100 occupations requiring specialized training or certification in addition to a high school diploma.”

Innovation networks create a talent pipeline that is matched to the requirements of employers’ current and future workforce needs.  The grants, which cover two years, require a private match by the recipients, and financially support the partnerships to provide more and better avenues for skill-specific training and certification.

“The large number of Skill UP Indiana! applications received, which more than doubled the previous two rounds, are a reflection of the desire to develop local talent through effective collaboration,” said DWD Associate Chief Operating Officer for Employer Engagement Mike Barnes.  “After a very thorough and multi-agency review process, we have selected 11 groups that will support local employers and expand the talent pipeline.”

The 2018 Skill UP Indiana! grant recipients and a brief description of each follow:

DeKalb County School District

Grant Amount: $251,000

Create work-and-learn opportunities for youth and adult learners at multiple stages of a career pathway system, work-and-learn opportunities include internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships.

E3 Innovation Network (Monroe, Greene and Owen counties)

Grant Amount: $582,000

Develop sustainable pathways for talent development that align with the industry demands with comprehensive training opportunities.

ELITE (Fayette, Henry, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne counties)

Grant Amount: $1.28 million

Develop work-based learning models to attract and retain local talent, increase wages and provide career pathways, and to invest in new apprenticeship pathways for incumbent and emerging workers to impact skills development, retention, and promotion.

Hamilton County Workforce Innovation Network

Grant Amount: $1.46 million

Increase talent pipeline supply, organize work-and-learn opportunities at multiple stages of a career pathway system, and design sector-focused career pathway systems that include stackable and portable, standards-based, industry recognized credentials.

Health & Science Innovations (IDEAA) (Marion, Hamilton, Boone, Handcock, Hendricks, Johnson, Morgan, Shelby and Bartholomew counties)

Grant Amount: $924,000

Develop pathways that are sensitive to individuals with different academic/career backgrounds connecting participants to employment opportunities, and implement enhanced and scalable work based learning (WBL) opportunities.

Hendricks Logistics Sector Partnership (Hendricks County)

Grant Amount: $601,750

Engage opportunities in work based learning like internships, externships, mentoring, and job shadowing will expose current students, administrators, teachers and parents to the potential career in TDL.

LaPorte County Innovation Network

Grant Amount: $677,000

Create a pipeline of skill-certified talent  for LaPorte County manufacturing employers  via an integrated collaborative effort of community partners and direct service and training providers,  including the K-12 schools, LaPorte Career and Technical Education Center, Ivy Tech, Purdue NW and the Work One system.

Lawrence County Growth Council

Grant Amount: $693,000

Maintain strategies that will increase utilization of the North Lawrence Career Center; increase the number of apprenticeships and internships; increase job skills of unemployed and underemployed adults; and create a Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

Region 4 Innovation Network (Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Miami, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Warren and White counties)

Grant Amount: $1 million

Convert large numbers of potential job applicants into skilled workers on an advanced manufacturing career pathway and develop a sustainable system to support this transformational process.

Scott County Economic Development Corporation

Grant Amount: $378,000

Expand the scope of training services to support incumbent workers, unemployed, recent graduates, ex-offenders to receive relevant and interactive training to garner real experience on machines and about the career pipeline into the manufacturing sector.

South Bend/Elkhart Advanced Manufacturing Sector Partnership

Grant Amount: $1.7 million

Develop innovative approaches to reach the student and adult education population to provide clear, efficient pathways to enter into a local career in advanced manufacturing and IT.

Skill UP Indiana! was originally launched in 2015. Grants awarded vary in amount, and depend on resource needs, anticipated outcomes and engagement levels of participants.  Some of the outcomes DWD seeks when evaluating grant applications are an understanding of employer demands, ensuring that training programs meet employer needs, providing easily-accessible training programs, establish shared resources, and establishing internships, apprenticeships and other forms of stackable training.

Successful results have been achieved from Skill UP rounds 1 and 2.  Since April 2016, 44,649 Indiana youth and adults have been directly connected to career or job awareness around occupations in demand in their communities as a direct result of Skill UP; 2,653 have received industry-recognized credentials or certifications, 2,006 have received dual-credit, 2,655 have completed Work and Learn and apprenticeship opportunities, and more than 2,400 (and counting) have achieved employment in a high-wage, high-demand career.

More information about Skill UP Indiana! can be found at http://www.in.gov/dwd/skillup.htm.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Workforce Development