- II. Strategic Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.
II. b. State Strategic Vision and Goals
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include the State’s strategic vision and goals for developing its workforce and meeting employer needs in order to support economic growth and economic self-sufficiency. This must include—
Describe the State’s strategic vision for its workforce development system.
Describe the goals for achieving this vision based on the analysis in (a) above of the State’s economic conditions, workforce, and workforce development activities. This must include—
(A) Goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce, including preparing youth and individuals with barriers to employment8 and other populations.9
(B) Goals for meeting the skilled workforce needs of employers.
 Individuals with barriers to employment include displaced homemakers; low-income individuals; Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities; older individuals; ex-offenders; homeless individuals, or homeless children and youths; youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system; individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers; eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers (as defined at section 167(i) of WIOA and Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 35-14); individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; single parents (including single pregnant women); and long-term unemployed individuals.
 Veterans, unemployed workers, and youth and any other populations identified by the State.
3. Performance Goals
Using the tables provided within each Core Program section, include the State's expected levels of performance relating to the performance accountability measures based on primary indicators of performance described in section 116(b)(2)(A) of WIOA. (This Strategic Planning element only applies to core programs.)
Describe how the State will assess the overall effectiveness of the workforce development system in the State in relation to the strategic vision and goals stated above in sections (b)(1), (2), and (3) and how it will use the results of this assessment and other feedback to make continuous or quality improvements.
Indiana’s strategic vision is to create a talent system that affords all Hoosiers equitable opportunities for lifelong learning and increased personal economic mobility and provides employers the talent to grow and diversify their workforce. We will endeavor to increase intergenerational social and economic mobility by:
- Ensuring quality pathways that provide opportunities for career advancement, personal prosperity, and well-being for all Hoosiers;
- Partnering with Indiana employers and education and training providers to identify and close the skills gap while meeting emerging talent needs; and
- Strengthening Indiana’s economy by aligning programs and funding to meet current and future workforce needs.
Goals. Describe the goals for achieving this vision based on the analysis in (a) above of the State’s economic conditions, workforce, and workforce development activities. This must include—
(A) Goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce, including preparing youth and individuals with barriers to employment8 and other populations.9
(B) Goals for meeting the skilled workforce needs of employers.
In order to realize our vision, we must develop and inspire a culture of lifelong learning that provides each Hoosier the opportunity to obtain quality employment, career sustainability, and upward mobility. Recognizing the various interests of Hoosiers and economic needs of our state, Indiana strives to create an adaptable talent development system that can adjust depending on a Hoosier’s needs and the fluctuations of the economy.
Indiana’s two overarching targets for its talent development system are:
- By 2025, at least 60% of Hoosiers will have attained a quality credential beyond a high school diploma; and
- Engagement between employers and state and local agencies will increase to identify and address the skills gaps with greater responsivity and efficiency.
To reach those targets, Indiana sets forth the following goals for its talent development system:
Goal 1. Focus on meeting the individual needs of Hoosiers. Indiana has created a talent development system comprised of wide-ranging workforce training and education programs. Hoosiers need to be able to find and navigate this often complex system to find the best option that meets their current and often immediate needs, fulfills their aspirations, and equips them with the skills and knowledge for socioeconomic mobility. Career pathways that help diversify the skills and talent within Indiana must be designed and delivered with the individual’s economic sustainability and mobility as the focal point. These career pathways will help diversify the skills and talent within Indiana to promote economic opportunities for Hoosiers. We need to ensure that we do not focus merely on programmatic requirements and funding streams, but rather what an individual needs and aspires to in order to be successful. We must include an intergenerational approach to communicating, offering, and delivering services in order to meet an individual’s ambitions and current and future economic needs. This system may not look the same for each person, and it may not provide the same resources for each person. It will be customizable to an individual’s goals and aspirations in order to achieve social and economic mobility.
Goal 2. Integrate state systems to facilitate greater access to information, resources, and services for constituents, businesses, state personnel, career coaches or navigators, and case managers. In addition to acquiring skills, education, and jobs that put them on the path to social and economic mobility, constituents also must understand that they have continuous access to the talent development system throughout their working lives. For sustained economic success and personal growth, Hoosiers will need to continually engage with, and pursue, lifelong learning opportunities, which could exacerbate the complexities of this multifaceted system. Indiana must integrate our state and federal resources to help simplify navigation of this system for constituents. Our current program-by-program approach to serving constituents and businesses has resulted in a profusion of program-specific solutions. If the talent development system is to better serve our Hoosiers and improve their lives, we must align and simplify access to this array of resources and services. Strategic coordination of systems and collaboration across state agencies will begin breaking down siloes to better empower our Workforce Development Boards, outreach personnel, and local partners.
Goal 3. Align programs towards creating a healthy, engaged, and talented citizen. Often, our programs deal with the aftermath of either situational or systematic difficulties. Some government programs perform triage on crises occurring in Hoosiers’ lives, rather than curbing the systemic inequities through early intervention strategies. We envision a realignment of our programs to include an emphasis on prevention and early intervention that will elevate opportunities for success. The most vital and entrenched strategy we have for early intervention is our early education and K-12 education systems. By expanding access to early education, we can begin providing advantageous programs to Hoosier children. As our students progress through our educational system, better integration of academic and technical skills and knowledge will provide Hoosiers with more opportunities for future mobility. Our education and workforce programs for adults will focus on finding the right fit for the individual person and equipping Hoosiers with the skills needed for career advancement and longevity. By assisting multiple generations in advancement towards quality health, societal engagement, and preparation for the jobs of today and tomorrow, we can foster an environment where economic mobility is attainable for more Hoosiers.
Goal 4. Maximize state and federal resources through impact-driven programs for Hoosiers. In Indiana, there is a great deal of overlap between the populations served through our various state and federal programs focusing on either social services and/or workforce training. An interdependence of social, medical, and other support services can help Hoosiers overcome employment obstacles. To capitalize on Indiana’s investments into these programs, we must include impact data in our evaluation of successful services. In addition to considering inputs (e.g., attendance and participation rates) and outputs (e.g., program completers and graduates) of these programs, we will also examine the outcomes (e.g., wages and improvement in socioeconomic status). We need to understand the return on investment we earn from each of our programs in order to ensure it is truly impacting the lives of Hoosiers.
Goal 5. Foster impactful relationships between businesses, community partners, and government agencies. In order to create a more robust talent development system and advance our populous towards economic mobility, the private sector must be a partner to drive training. We need to deepen our current partnerships with engaged businesses and expand our outreach to involve more businesses. Simultaneously, Indiana must increasingly diversify its economy to ensure we keep up with the rapid pace of global change. The first step is promoting coordinated communication of the state’s programs to all Indiana employers so no matter the size or type of business all are empowered to engage. This involves synchronization from state agencies to local regions to ensure our employers know and understand the multitude of state opportunities to engage with the talent development system. Successful business engagement must deliver value to employers, which will require our talent development programs to be more accessible and user-friendly for employers. We must also start to engage with businesses holistically, rather than focusing solely on their current needs. Our ultimate goal is to change the culture of how employers play a role and invest in their own workforce development as opposed to the government steering and telling employers what to do. Our engagement practices will shift employers from simply being the customers of the workforce system to active participants in the creation and implementation of workforce development and wraparound service solutions. Fostering and showcasing business investments in their people will highlight the mutual benefits of the talent development system for both employers and individuals.
Target Populations 
To ensure all Hoosiers can attain economic mobility over the next generation, we must ensure our system has equity embedded in its processes. Equity requires that a person’s life circumstances or obstacles should not dictate his/her opportunity to succeed, as well as the recognition that certain subpopulations have historically faced greater barriers and obstacles to educational achievement and economic prosperity than others. Creating a more equitable talent development system necessitates us to focus resources to counteract the systemic values that have caused lower postsecondary attainment, career sustainability, and economic mobility for certain groups of Hoosiers. We must recognize the diverse populations and corresponding needs served by the state’s workforce system, including those who are unemployed or underemployed, those seeking additional education to advance their careers, and those facing barriers to employment. Some Hoosiers will pass through the system with minimal support, while others will require multiple resources. In order to reach our targets for postsecondary attainment and employer engagement, identifying specific populations, like those listed below, that require additional supports will be crucial. As well, ensuring there is equitable access to the talent development system will concretize the expectation of greater economic mobility throughout Indiana.
Our targeted populations include:
- Low-income individuals; 
- Veterans and eligible spouses;
- Unemployed individuals;
- Individuals needing to be upskilled and reskilled;
- Individuals with disabilities;
- Historically underrepresented minorities;
- Urban populations;
- Rural populations;
- At-risk youth; and
- Adults without a high school diploma and/or with basic skills deficiency.
We recognize that one individual may fall into multiple populations based upon his or her life circumstances. These are not intended to be siloed groups, for many of these populations have overlapping factors and characteristics. The intersectionality of our target populations is an important recognition in how we integrate our workforce and social services across the system.
Performance Goals. Using the table provided in Appendix 1, include the State's expected levels of performance relating to the performance accountability measures based on primary indicators of performance described in section 116(b)(2)(A) of WIOA. (This Strategic Planning element only applies to core programs.)
WIOA mandates six performance measures for its Core Programs. Performance measures are calculated using the following methodology:
- Second Quarter Employment after Exit – Measures the percentage of participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program. For youth, the measure also includes the percentage who were in education or training activities during the second quarter after exit.
- Fourth Quarter Employment after Exit – Measures the percentage of participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the program. For youth, the measure also includes the percentage who were in education or training activities during the fourth quarter after exit.
- Median Earnings for Second Quarter after Exit – Measures the median earnings of participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program.
- Credential Attainment Rate – Measures the percentage of participants who obtained a recognized postsecondary credential or a secondary school diploma, or its recognized equivalent, during participation in or within one year of exit from the program.
- Measurable Skill Gains – Measures the percentage of participants who, during a program year, are in an education or training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential or employment and who are achieving measurable skill gains, which are defined as documented academic, technical, occupational, or other forms of progress toward such a credential or employment.
- Effectiveness in Serving Employers – Measures the state workforce system’s effectiveness in serving employers by evaluating the employee retention, employer penetration, and repeat business customer rates.
Indiana’s expected performance levels are found in Appendix 1.
To achieve Goals 2 and 4 above, Indiana intends on applying the WIOA performance metrics beyond the Core Programs to include both the Partner and state programs in our Combined Plan. Through shared performance goals and targets, we aim to integrate all of our programs better and more accurately measure effectiveness. While the Partner Programs have statutory metrics they must meet, we intend on reporting the data from the metrics above for them, as well. Applying these metrics more broadly to encompass our Partner and state programs will not be for federal accountability, but to allow Indiana to compare the effectiveness of our programs at the state-level. State reporting will including the following programs:
- Carl D. Perkins;
- SNAP E&T;
- Jobs for Veterans;
- Unemployment Insurance;
- TAA; and
- Indiana’s Next Level Jobs – Workforce Ready Grants and Employer Training Grants.
For Indiana to achieve Goal 4 and maximize our investments, we recognize that we must go above and beyond the WIOA data points. While these data help us understand the basic levels of performance for our programs, we will include additional data to ensure we are portraying a holistic picture. We will capture data that help our state understand the effectiveness of a program at various stages, rather than merely completion at the end. To the extent possible, we will streamline data-gathering definitions and tools for all programs through the Management Performance Hub. These data will encompass early indicators of success, performance goals upon completion, and longitudinal goals after a program. Overall, Indiana will include the following measurements to determine each of our program’s effectiveness:
For each of the data points above, Indiana will disaggregate the programs by subgroups, including race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, and socioeconomic status (e.g., those eligible for SNAP and/or TANF). Once baselines are set for each of the data points above in both the aggregate and then disaggregated by subgroups, Indiana will be able to reevaluate the effectiveness of its programs and how well it is serving Hoosiers with the greatest needs.
Some programs may have more flexibility with meeting these outcomes than others due to the differences in mission and populations served. For example, the following programs will have to adapt these measures to suit their purposes:
- Vocational Rehabilitation will adjust the metric evaluating an individual’s steps towards employment given the varying needs of those they serve. This includes those who maintain employment through VR’s assistive technologies or adaptive aids and devices to those who enter the workforce more broadly.
- WIOA Youth will include either part or full-time enrollment in its 2nd or 4th quarter employment after exit data.
- For English Learners, measurable skill gains can include any advancement towards proficiency in English.
- For SNAP and TANF, employer services may not be applicable. This, instead, may be captured by the data for the WIOA Core Programs.
We intend to use the data points above for program management and improvement, in addition to holding our programs accountable for the impact they provide. Through these comprehensive measures of effectiveness, we can more accurately determine causation and effectiveness of our programs. Understanding these data points will allow us to also pinpoint best practices and areas needing improvement in a more robust way. By expanding the data we examine as a state, we can perform longer term analyses of our programs.
In addition to the Performance Goals above, Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education will assess and report on the following data aligned to our Vision:
- Educational Attainment
- Measured by progress toward at least 60% of Hoosiers having a quality credential beyond a high school diploma, assessing
- Postsecondary-Going Rate
- On-Time Postsecondary Completion Rate
- 6-Year Postsecondary Completion Rate
- Adult Learner Completion Rates
- 2. Career Relevance and Preparation
- Measured by progress toward 100% of postsecondary programs requiring an internship, work-based learning, research project, or other student engagement experience that has career relevance
- 3. Economic Impact
- Measured by progress toward Indiana becoming a leading Midwest state for median household income
- By 2025: Above Average in Peer States
- By 2030: Top 5 in Peer States
One of the primary metrics Indiana will use to assess the overall effectiveness of the workforce development system is examining each program’s return on investment, per Goal 4 above. While it is critical to understand the state’s return on investment financially in its programs, we must also comprehensively examine data from both the individual’s and employer’s vantage point. As outlined in Strategy 4.4 below, Indiana will endeavor to answer the following questions in order to gauge the effectiveness of programmatic outcomes:
- Through comparing the outcomes of those who complete a program to those who disengage from a program, what is the difference in impact on the investment long-term?
- Comparing those who disengage from a program with those who complete, what are the long-term benefits (e.g., what are the wages of those who disengage versus those who complete)?
- From a prevention standpoint, how many at-risk youth that received benefits during K-12 and participated in our programs are no longer receiving government benefits? How does that compare to those at-risk youth who did not participate in our programs?
- Is an individual making progress towards economic sustainability, even if they are not completely off government benefits (e.g., earning a CCDF voucher versus TANF cash assistance; moving off of traditional Medicaid; or using the proposed HIP Workforce Bridge program)?
- Do the savings recover the costs of the program? What are the long-term savings from individuals completing this program?
- Is the program preventing a negative economic change for an individual (e.g., VR providing assistive technologies or adaptive aids and devices)? If so, what is the cost savings from this preventative service versus if the service had not occurred?
- Could the program provide future revenue (e.g., taxable income versus reliance on government benefits)?
- Does this intervention cost less to administer than a remedial service (e.g., incarceration costs and government benefits)?
- Are there social capital savings from a program (e.g., reduced recidivism, substance abuse, homelessness, chronic health conditions, etc.)?
- Has this program helped an individual to become socially and economically mobile upon exit and also 1, 3, and 5 years post-program?
- Is the individual employed upon exit and also 1, 3, and 5 years post-program?
- What is the sustainability of this job (e.g., automation risk, longevity, trajectory along a career pathway?)
- Is the person no longer relying on government benefits, such as SNAP, TANF, subsidized housing, or Medicaid?
- Is the person accessing a career in an advanced industry?
- Is the person in a career that is sustainable and meaningful?
- Is the individual seeing an improvement in his or her life? Does s/he feel like s/he has more opportunities to achieve his/her goals?
- Is this program scaling its efforts to the target populations?
- Is there equitable access to this program? Is it engaging groups that have been disproportionately served by government benefits?
- Is it reducing the gap of those currently disengaged in the labor market?
- Is it scaling success from positive outliers and/or outcomes?
- Are our target populations enrolling, persisting, and completing?
- What are the opportunities within certain career pathways offered through a program?
- Is the employer experiencing positive changes and improvements from a particular program?
- Is the talent pipeline improving and increasing?
- Is the skills gap diminishing? Is it easier to fill open positions?
- Is it easier to attract and retain talent?
- Is there less reliance on temporary workers? Is there less turnover in workers?
- Have training costs decreased? Has production increased?
In order to assess the return on investment for each of our Core, Partner, and state programs, Indiana must complete, assess, and continually improve the following steps:
- Data sharing. Data sharing is the basic first step we must take to understand the correlation between our programs and improvements for Hoosiers. Amongst those agencies on the GWC, we need to institute a data charter, allowing data to be cross-referenced and analyzed by the Indiana Management Performance Hub (MPH). One critical piece of this step is MPH determining the overlap of populations between the Combined Plan programs (as well as other related programs, like child support through the Department of Child Services, subsidized housing through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and Medicaid through the Family and Social Services Agency), so that we will understand who we are serving, where we are serving them, and through what programs. We will begin with correlating state-level data across our agencies, with a longer term step of including county-level data. One barrier Indiana faces in creating interagency data charters is federal restrictions around data sharing. We will leverage Governor Holcomb’s work and leadership on the White House’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board to address the federal challenges and facilitate greater data sharing between our agencies.
- Co-enrollment. Once we know the intersection of our populations within our programs, we can improve how individuals are co-enrolled into programs, which will serve as a proxy for braiding funds until we have a common case management system. Additionally, we can track our co-enrollment rates between core, partner, and state programs. Individuals must meet eligibility requirements to be co-enrolled in programs and can opt out of enrolling in a program
- Co-location. As Indiana works to increase the co-location of its services by physically and virtually embedding local program managers and staff into various offices and community hubs, we can begin to understand and improve the effectiveness of our customer service. We can track: wait times, waitlists, enrollment increases, speed of referrals, and quality of referrals and case management (e.g., scheduling appointments, co-enrollment in multiple programs, and persistence and completion rates of co-enrollment).
- Cross-training. To facilitate co-enrollment and enhance co-location, we must increase our cross-training and professional development of state, local, and frontline staff. This strategy is central to successful integration of our programs across agencies. To begin, we will prioritize cross-training SNAP, TANF, all core WIOA programs, and federal and state financial aid opportunities, focusing on eligibility requirements and allowances. We want to start cross-training our staff from the state-level to those on the front lines in these programs first because these present the biggest opportunity to address and coordinate overlapping programs and funding. These efforts will be led by the administrative agencies. Each agency will track the availability of professional development opportunities, including in-person, successive modules, webinars, and workshops for each program. Additionally, they will track the completion of those opportunities. Completion data will then be cross-referenced through co-enrollment rates in the various programs. We will also increase cross-training and onboarding for members of local Workforce Boards regarding Core and Partner Programs for them to better understand the talent development ecosystem. Cross-trainings for Boards may also encompass community programs and partners that are critical to addressing the barriers of our target populations.
- Employer engagement. In order to see the growth of labor participation by our target populations, we need to work with our Hoosier businesses to see the benefits of non-traditional hiring practices. Through both expanded work-based learning partnerships and showcasing best practices with unconventional talent development approaches from other employers, we can start to shift the mindsets of all our employers regarding how to engage with our target populations.
Assessing the data points for each step above will enable us to ascertain the returns on investment for each of our programs. It will also allow us to increase our program management and improvement effectiveness by understanding our programs more systemically. If we see gaps in referrals, inconsistencies in enrollment, varying persistence in programs, or low completion rates – in either the aggregate or by target population – we can institute root cause analyses to understand where there is a programmatic breakdown. As well, we can also find areas of success and proofs of concept that can serve as exemplars for improvements.
As we begin to analyze longitudinal data cross-referenced by programs and benefits, we can begin answering those questions geared at determining the long-term benefits and effectiveness of each program for the individual, employer, and state. Once we develop a baseline, we can change our approach in serving our constituents or in our programmatic investments based upon data. We can also more efficiently identify the best practices occurring in the field to share, scale, and expand upon, in addition to detecting those areas needing improvement. We do not want any of our programs or approaches to be static and unchanging; to the contrary, we want to continually improve how we serve Hoosiers based on annual data reports from the state on both the performance goals and longitudinal data. By continuously assessing our investments and if we are reaping financial and social long-term benefits from them, we expect to modify and amend our Combined Plan. Indiana seeks to minimize that timespan to an annual review of our programs answering those questions above. Based on those answers regarding each program’s return on investment, we hope to submit amendments, as needed, building and scaling successes annually.
 The 60% attainment goal was adopted from the Lumina Foundation. Indiana’s current attainment rate is at 43.4% (Indiana Commission for Higher Education, October 2019. Reaching Higher in a State of Change; Lumina Foundation, A Stronger Nation: Indiana.).
 Under WIOA, low-income individuals and veterans are given priority of service. Our target populations enumerate other groups that may also need prioritization to help ensure equitable access to our state, federal, and philanthropic education and training programs and associated wraparound supports.
 Individuals eligible for SNAP benefits and/or individuals within two years of exhausted TANF eligibility.
 Long-term unemployed, homeless individuals, and Migrant/Seasonal farmworkers.
 Underemployed individuals, seniors, single parents, dislocated workers, and displaced homemakers.
 This is a term adapted from US Code Title 20 that defines racial and ethnic populations that have been historically underrepresented in disproportionate percentages in higher education. This includes African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
 Includes in-school (ages 14 to 22) and out-of-school (ages 16 to 24) low-income youth, foster youth, homeless youth, English Learners, a youth deficient in basic skills, juvenile offender, pregnant and/or parenting youth, and youth with disabilities.
 Includes English Learners, immigrants, and refugees.
 The Self-Sufficiency Standard calculates how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet without public or private assistance. This will vary based on family size and geographic location. (The Indiana Institute For Working Families, 2016).
 Indiana uses data from the Census Bureau to track its postsecondary attainment. Currently, these metrics includes only 2- and 4-year degrees earned by adults 25 to 64-years-old. The Commission for Higher Education is considering a revised method to capture the following data in our attainment: adults 18 to 24-years-old and a wider array of credential types (e.g., industry-recognized certifications, long- and short-term workforce certificates, non-credit certificates and apprenticeships).