- 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. c. State Strategy
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include the State's strategies to achieve its strategic vision and goals. These strategies must take into account the State’s economic, workforce, and workforce development, education and training activities and analysis provided in Section (a) above. Include discussion of specific strategies to address the needs of populations provided in Section (a).
1. Describe the strategies the State will implement, including industry or sector partnerships related to in-demand industry sectors and occupations and career pathways, as required by WIOA section 101(d)(3)(B), (D). “Career pathway” is defined at WIOA section 3(7) and includes registered apprenticeship. “In-demand industry sector or occupation” is defined at WIOA section 3(23)
2. Describe the strategies the State will use to align the core programs, any Combined State Plan partner programs included in this Plan, required and optional one-stop partner programs, and any other resources available to the State to achieve fully integrated customer services consistent with the strategic vision and goals described above. Also describe strategies to strengthen workforce development activities in regard to weaknesses identified in section II(a)(2)
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include the State's strategies to achieve its strategic vision and goals. These strategies must take into account the State’s economic, workforce, and workforce development, education and training activities and analysis provided in Section (a) above. Include discussion of specific strategies to address the needs of populations provided Section (a).
(1) Describe the strategies the State will implement, including sector strategies and career pathways, as required by WIOA section 101(d)(3)(B), (D). “Career pathway” is defined at WIOA section 3(7). “In-demand industry sector or occupation” is defined at WIOA Section 3(23).
The GWC staff held a Listening Tour in each of Indiana’s 12 workforce regions during the beginning stages of the development of the Plan. some of the common themes that emerged included the need to co-locate more services to reduce barriers for Hoosiers and the importance of considering common barriers, such as childcare and transportation, when trying to reach individuals with education and training services. Additionally, the importance of better external communication to ensure Hoosiers are aware of programs available to them and better internal communication across agencies to lessen duplication of services and ensure various funding streams are being used most effectively was brought up repeatedly. The Listening Tour concluded before beginning to draft the Plan, allowing for the state to identify those common themes and work to incorporate that feedback heard from local regions directly into our Goals and Strategies.
Indiana’s Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps served as another valuable source of feedback in developing the Plan, as well. The Coaching Corps is an intensive program that recognizes the vital role of career coaches play in the talent development system and works to give them the tools and training they need to best serve individuals. Indiana is one of only two states to adopt this program, which selects a diverse mixture of individuals from public workforce centers, adult educational institutions, K-12 schools, and non-profits from all 12 Indiana workforce regions each year. At the end of the year-long program, coaches have the opportunity to recommend new policies and practices to state leaders. Common themes from the coach’s presentations to state policymakers were the importance of additional training for career coaches and the need to reduce “red tape” for individuals through a simplified intake system and the lessening of redundancy between organizations.
Our goals and targets are oriented towards supporting Hoosiers attain a quality credential beyond a high school diploma. Based upon our labor market information, we know that the attainment of a quality credential beyond high school is the clearest path for individuals to access more advanced career opportunities and for the state to have the talent necessary to build a more diversified workforce and economy. Additionally, we need our talent development system to strategically coordinate resources of the public, philanthropic, and private sectors to create new solutions to economic challenges. Through multiple meetings among interested partners and stakeholders, the following critical strategies were identified to implement the state’s goals.
Goal 1. Focus on meeting the individual needs of Hoosiers.
Immediate strategies implemented by the end of 2020:
Strategy 1.1: Indiana will develop career pathways that have multiple points of entry mapping towards a trajectory for career advancement and sustainability. These career pathways will be scaffolded to have a sequence of valuable, stackable credentials that signify crucial skill development. Each of our priority sectors will have career pathways that correspond with middle-skills jobs. Our career pathways will be proactive in preparing people for potential economic shifts. Ensuring our credentials are stackable and aligned to career prospects will allow these pathways to respond to immediate needs and to adjust to the longer term economic forecast.
Short-term strategies implemented by the end of 2022:
Strategy 1.2: Indiana will develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan to raise awareness regarding the long-term career benefits and multiple options to pursuing postsecondary education and lifelong learning.
Strategy 1.3: We will increase the co-enrollment of those served into applicable social and talent development programs to address the associated costs of higher education and training and supportive services.
- The first step in this strategy is to run data matches between various programs and agencies to identify a common client base and the current percentage of co-enrollment of Hoosiers. This will require interagency Memoranda of Understanding (Strategy 2.2). Using that information, we can identify priority programs to increase co-enrollment.
Strategy 1.4: As part of our efforts to scale career coaching and navigation, we will include mentorship and advising around the benefits and multiple options of higher education and lifelong learning. This process will also include working with the constituent to identify successful prior learning experiences for which they may obtain credit, such as competencies, on-the-job training or internships, military training experiences, certifications, and skills. Career coaching will also encompass ways to address short-term associated costs and the long-term economic benefits.
- We will leverage our partnership with Indiana Skillful Coaching Corps and the community of practice to support career coaching and philanthropic grants for counseling, such as the Eli Lilly Endowment grants for career counseling, in addition to the Wagner-Peyser, Perkins, and our state career coaching grant funds towards this effort.
- We will also mandate all Adult Education providers to have specific staff positions that are dedicated academic and career coaches as a part of the Adult Education grant.
- We also seek to better leverage current career coaching and navigation work presently occurring to further implement best practices across all programs.
Long-term strategies to be implemented by the end of 2024:
Strategy 1.5: In an effort to better align the state’s workforce development and social service systems, Indiana will examine potential ways to target the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant towards two objectives for those who fall between 151% and 200% of the federal poverty line:
- Paying for the costs of certification examinations in high wage, high demand fields, and
- Funding wraparound supports (such as childcare and transportation) that are major barriers to people engaging with the labor market.
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.
Immediate strategies implemented by the end of 2020:
Strategy 2.1: Through the development and implementation of the Combined Plan, state agencies will identify areas of eligibility and services of our state and federal programs. Additionally, wherever possible, we will reduce state administrative processes to align and simplify eligibility identification and reporting.
Strategy 2.2: To facilitate the reduction of administrative processes, we will increase and enhance interagency Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to connect social services with workforce development services. These MOUs will proactively address co-enrollment, co-location, data sharing, and cross marketing (including endorsed mailings to overlapping constituencies) efforts. Via the MOUs, we can map and align funding streams, as well as identify clear roles and responsibilities between our agencies.
Strategy 2.3: Indiana’s state agencies will create a digital catalog of each state and federal workforce program’s eligibility requirements, determination process, functions, allowances, and options.
- As part of creating an easily accessible repository of all workforce programs, state agencies need to use a common vocabulary, assessments, and planning tools to help clients move fluidly across programs.
Strategy 2.4: We will leverage Governor Holcomb’s work on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, initiated by the White House, to create an effective data charter between the state agencies represented on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. This will facilitate cross-agency data analysis through our state’s Management Performance Hub. We can leverage sharing our data to better understand how our different policies are working together systematically to improve Hoosiers’ lives. We can also disaggregate the data based upon subgroups and target populations.
Short-term strategies implemented by the end of 2022:
Strategy 2.5: Where appropriate, state institutions and entities that provide education and training programs, as well as social services, should co-locate to better pool resources and align their services. We will increase the number of co-located offices by 100% over the next 2 years. Co-location of services can be within a physical space, but this can also include entities and organizations partnering to offer mobile and virtual services, as well as embedding staff members or using itinerant staffing models, in various hubs of activity and offices.
- Many of the Core and Partner Programs have separate offices and providers for their education and training services, which can create an inconvenience for constituents in accessing those resources.
- Our local CTE Centers, which are Carl D. Perkins secondary recipients, often have similar programs and facilities as nearby community colleges, which are postsecondary Perkins recipients, and employers. To maximize our Perkins funding, community colleges and CTE Centers should examine co-locating programs in the same facilities or partner with employers for training in their facilities. Some locations are already implementing this strategy, but we need to scale these efforts.
- Additionally, in some locales, Adult Education providers operate from a CTE Center, which allows adult students to access the facilities and equipment in the Center. These providers, as well as other employment and training providers, should co-locate with either a community college or a CTE Center to increase adult students’ access to equipment, potential to earn credentials, and ability for career exploration while enrolled in Adult Education.
- We also will promote public-private partnership opportunities between our WorkOnes and vendors who have experience in developing innovative models for service delivery, which may include use of technology, self-service tools, or a 24-hour service center model..
Strategy 2.6: State agencies will coordinate all of their outreach personnel to co-locate services. This will require outreach personnel to be mobile throughout their region in an effort to spend time in hubs of activity throughout – such as WorkOnes, schools, community centers, libraries, chambers of commerce and businesses, and city halls. These hubs will offer expanded business hours, drop-off childcare, public transit access, and social service consults, whenever possible. Embedding staff or using an itinerant staffing model would create co-location of various programs and services to reach a greater number of Hoosiers.
Strategy 2.7: Integrating services requires system-wide professional development and cross-training on the basic functions, allowances, and requirements of the various programs for both leadership, outreach personnel, and front-line staff. Cross-training will equip front-line and outreach staff and managers, as well as the leaders of the state agencies, with foundational information needed to respond to the wide range of Hoosiers’ needs. This will allow outreach and front-line personnel to offer a true one-stop option with concierge-like service.
- We will apply to use the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Agency’s Technical Assistance and Training funds to facilitate our interagency collaboration on professional development materials, tools, and opportunities. As these funds are intended to promote building system capacity, we will utilize them to create a positive impact on the delivery of services to partners and present future opportunities to leverage additional federal dollars to achieve this strategy.
- We will focus initial cross-training efforts on all of the WIOA Core Programs, SNAP, TANF, and state and federal financial aid programs. We will then expand to include our other Partner Programs, state programs, and other federal 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.
Strategy 2.8: To increase both co-enrollment and co-location, regions or communities experiencing success will provide professional development to help partners replicate and build on successes.
- We intend to identify regions where the structure for co-location of services works well to provide best practices that can be replicated and scaled. Identify priority list of services to co-locate and/or areas where a region is already moving in that direction and prioritize efforts accordingly.
- We will also conduct focus groups in each region with key partner programs to discuss short and long term strategies for co-location.
Strategy 2.9: Indiana will collapse all of the intake processes into one common intake across all programs. This common intake will be accessible both in-person and online. Simplifying the intake process will allow current and future Hoosiers to connect to the system quickly and efficiently and obtain the appropriate mix of services to advance them along a pathway to economic mobility.
- The first step in this strategy will be to assess the various systems and forms used across all programs to complete eligibility determinations.
- We intend on prioritizing and expediting this project for our WIOA Core Programs, SNAP, and TANF intake as a first step towards a common intake process across all state agencies and programs.
- This common intake process will include interagency sharing of constituents’ documents (e.g., driver licenses) with a constituent’s sign off through a safe secure cloud network protecting information and complying with regulations.
- Eventually, we aim to include access to the common intake process through an app or similar technology. This will provide more autonomy for Hoosiers to obtain assistance and services with less bureaucratic steps. In addition, it offers Hoosiers the opportunity for real-time self-advocacy and actualization.
Strategy 2.10: The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) will leverage the Next Level Broadband program to improve the digital infrastructure throughout the state. OCRA will work with the Indiana Department of Education on the use of E-RATE to ensure libraries and schools serve as internet hubs in every community.
Strategy 2.11: Indiana will create a pilot for a few regions to test consumer-driven operations (e.g., shifting hours of operation to evenings or Saturdays potentially to align with the volume of traffic or creating virtual chat resources for those unable to go to the office). Through this pilot, the regions will determine the costs and benefits of staggering times, how to communicate the change in hours, and the coordination with administrative timelines and requirements.
Long-term strategies implemented by the end of 2024:
Strategy 2.12: Indiana will develop an automated, common case management system that operates across state and federal programs.
Goal 3. Align programs towards creating a healthy, engaged, and talented citizen.
Immediate strategies implemented by 2020:
Strategy 3.1: In order to reorient our focus towards early intervention services, we will use our state data charter agreements to target programs towards specific Hoosiers.
- One example is to direct state Workforce Ready Grants towards workers employed at businesses that have issued WARN Notices.
Strategy 3.2: The Commission for Higher Education will work to expand the definition of postsecondary attainment to encompass any and all quality learning after high school, including industry-recognized certifications and credentials, to embrace the right fit and the right time for each Hoosier.
- Indiana uses data from the Census Bureau to track its postsecondary attainment. Currently, these metrics include only 2- and 4-year degrees earned by adults 25 to 64-years-old. Certificates earned are currently estimated by Georgetown University.
- The Commission for Higher Education is considering a revised method, including 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).
Short-term strategies implemented by 2022:
Strategy 3.3: One of Governor Holcomb’s policy pillars is to expand early education throughout the state. Early education is shown to improve students’ long-term health and educational outcomes. Access to quality early learning also helps address the need for childcare and increases parents’ ability to seek work or training. On My Way Prekindergarten (State Program) is now available in every county in Indiana; however, there is still a need to grow capacity among high-quality providers. TANF currently funds childcare and early education, but we need to look to other funding streams that could assist with offsetting these costs for any Hoosier earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line and maximize our Child Care and Development Fund (Federal Program) dollars.
Strategy 3.4: The best way we have to prevent Hoosiers from needing any of these programs is generally through our education system. Career and technical education (CTE) has historically focused on career exploration, rather than preparation, and our CTE delivery structure has leaned more towards local flexibility. The Office of Career and Technical Education will be redesigning CTE courses and programs to have more industry relevance and alignment with postsecondary education. CTE will have greater quality, consistency, and intentionality than it has in the past, as well as better integrate academic and technical knowledge skills in CTE courses. During middle and high school, students will have the opportunity to earn the content necessary to be enrolled in a postsecondary education or training program or to be employed in a minimally middle-skill job with a career trajectory.
- Part of this redesign will be to focus the state’s set aside funds on paying for certification costs and increasing the persistence and completion of non-traditional students (females, minorities, and students with disabilities) in CTE courses.
- The state will also allocate funding to juvenile justice facilities, in addition to the Department of Corrections.
- In relation to Strategy 1.4, CTE funds will also be used to help increase career navigation and counseling in secondary schools.
Strategy 3.5: Our in-school youth programs, such as JAG and Youth Assistance, are directed towards preventing Hoosiers from needing Adult Education or other triage services in the future. Pairing those programs closer with career counseling, CTE and academic courses, and work-based learning experiences will help at-risk students start down a career pathway prior to graduation.
Strategy 3.6: Rethinking transitions for our out-of-school youth and adult programs, they will serve as career bridges, merging adult education practices with technical training. These programs will use the short-term, stackable credentials of value embedded in the career pathways to help Hoosiers access employment that will lead towards a family-sustaining wage for a range of workers in our priority sectors.
Long-term strategies to be implemented by 2024:
Strategy 3.7: We will use online, in-person, hybrid, and open source course materials to increase access to education and training opportunities, as well as to other support services, such as career coaching and navigation, job search and placement assistance, recruitment services for employers, and referrals and financial aid application assistance for training and educational programs.
Goal 4. Maximize state and federal resources through impact-driven programs for Hoosiers.
Immediate strategies implemented by 2020:
Strategy 4.1: Increasing co-enrollment of Hoosiers into multiple programs, when applicable, will allow us to better braid funding to meet both Goals 1 and 2. Section III – Operational Elements will delve deeper into implementation of co-enrollment programs, but below is a few examples of co-enrollment:
- Out-of-school youth and Adult Education programs;
- Wagner-Peyser for career coaching through a WorkOne and SNAP Employment & Training to pay for instruction and certifications; or
- JAG for wraparound services and a CTE program for academic and technical skills for secondary school completion, and connected to financial aid programs, like 21st Century Scholars or the federal Pell Grant, for postsecondary education access.
Strategy 4.2: Indiana needs to ensure that our state programs are seamlessly aligned to and complementary of our federal programs, particularly in our economic development activities. As we recruit individuals or businesses to Indiana through various state initiatives, we must have deliberate alignment with our talent development programs.
- One example is Jobs for Vets State Grant (Federal Program) and INvets (State Program). As INvets recruits veterans to live in Indiana, increasing coordination is key between the two programs to ensure the necessary employment, career services, and other supports are being offered to veterans.
Short-term strategies to be implemented by 2022:
Strategy 4.3: By 2022, our goal is to increase the number of people co-enrolled in programs by 100%.
Strategy 4.4: As a state, we need to evaluate our programs not based on access or completion alone, but through the impact a program has on Hoosiers’ lives. Skill attainment, completion rates, and conferred credentials should be assessed, but those will no longer be the only measures of successful workforce development programs. We have to balance our evaluations of the inputs and outputs from programs with outcomes. Some of the new questions our data points will assess include:
- What has happened to a constituent 6 months or 1 year after going through a program?
- Has this program helped an individual to become socially and economically mobile?
- Is an individual no longer relying on government assistance for benefits?
- Is this program scaling its efforts to the target populations?
- Is the state seeing a return on its investment in this program through long-term savings?
- Is the individual seeing an improvement in his or her life? Does s/he feel like s/he has more opportunities to achieving his/her goals?
- 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 attract and retain talent?
Through the data charter outlined in Strategy 2.3, the state can determine if a program has a positive return on investment for both Hoosiers and funding. This also correlates with Goal 3 regarding measuring the success of prevention services.
Strategy 4.5: Indiana will look to other states to learn best practices to help improve our state and federal programs.
Strategy 4.6: Once we have established what our impactful programs are, we can actively improve our required programs or sunset our low-impact, discretionary workforce programs to reinvest that funding towards high-impact programs or funding wraparound supports to ensure Hoosiers can earn a credential to access a higher wage and move along his or her career pathway.
Long-term strategies implemented by 2024:
Strategy 4.7: Over the next four years, state leaders from the executive and legislative branches will evaluate in which state agencies the Core and Partner programs are housed with the goal of streamlining the talent development system. Restructuring at the state level will also help facilitate increasing co-location of services at the local level.
Strategy 4.8: As Indiana’s economy changes with the rapid pace of national and international markets, it will be crucial to ensure that our designated workforce regions are continuously updated and realigned, as needed. State agencies will revisit which counties currently comprise our Economic Growth Regions.
Goal 5. Foster impactful relationships between businesses, community partners, and government agencies.
Immediate strategies implemented by the end of 2020:
Strategy 5.1: To establish sustainable economic prosperity, we must strategically and efficiently address the economic needs of workers and businesses, which will require deeper engagement and collaboration across the public and private sectors. Based on the 2019 data from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Employer Survey of approximately 1,000 businesses, there are partnership opportunities between employers and the public sector currently not being taken advantage:
- 58% do not work with others to develop current and future talent;
- 54% fail to partner to support work-based learning programs;
- 50% do not team with K-12 schools for career awareness/exploration activities;
- 40% use none of these talent development strategies (which include student site visits, job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships);
- 38% of businesses were aware of Indiana’s Next Level Jobs Program, with 28% having taken advantage of it and 48% indicating they would like to learn more.
Our primary strategy is to increase the number of businesses engaging with and utilizing the talent development system as a whole by 25% each year (or approximately 100 businesses). This includes analyzing our business engagement data (including Business Awareness, Business Penetration, and Business Retention) to understand the effectiveness of current outreach strategies. Indiana must also develop a common methodology and processes for tracking these data. Our objective is to cultivate with businesses that include strategies for investments into workforce solutions and talent development, in addition to the recruitment and retention of talent.
Strategy 5.2: In addition to generally increasing business engagement, we must augment our expectation of positive, efficient, and solutions-oriented government partnerships with businesses. In addition to the quantitative strategy we have outlined above, this is a qualitative approach that includes:
- Collecting responses from the businesses currently engaged with state or local agencies regarding their experiences, and
- Partnering with the state Chamber of Commerce and other members of the employer community (including small, minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses) to conduct qualitative research into the causes inhibiting some businesses from partnering with the state.
Short-term strategies implemented by the end of 2022:
Strategy 5.3: Indiana will seek to create strategic partnerships with the Institute of Workforce Excellence (IWE) under the state Chamber of Commerce, postsecondary institutions, and other sector organizations. These organizations have recently started scaling their efforts regarding talent attraction and skills growth throughout the state. They are currently focusing on identifying and addressing the challenges of developing, attracting, and retaining the kinds of technically and technologically skilled talent our state’s leading sectors of economic opportunity will require for their continued growth.
- These organizations and institutions will assist the state with developing career pathways comprised of multiple entry points via stackable credentials. They will ensure the pathways are organized on a sectoral level that provide transferrable skills needed by a range of employers in growing industries. The career pathways will address current and emerging skill gaps; provide a means to engage directly with industry through a continuum of work-based learning experiences; and better align state and local programs and resources serving employers and workers.
- By looking to Indiana’s advanced industries (agricultural biosciences, aircraft and aerospace, automotive/mobility, information technology, life sciences, and logistics), the state can prepare its future workforce for both the new jobs resulting from technological advances in those industries and the jobs that will exist as a result of these advanced industries becoming more intertwined. Creating career pathways to raise talent geared toward priority future occupations in advanced industries, Indiana’s workers will be prepared to meet the opportunities and challenges of the work of today and tomorrow.
Strategy 5.4: Seamlessly integrating the full work-based learning continuum into the Indiana talent development system will allow for both businesses and constituents to find sustainable success. We have recently started emphasizing work-based learning experiences in the high school space, as well as vertically aligning elementary and middle school experiences with the work-based learning continuum. Students now have more opportunities to engage, explore, and experience career options. As these opportunities continue to grow for our students, we must also ensure that a comparable work-based learning system for adults also increases. These experiences must include on-the-job training, federally-recognized apprenticeships, internships, job shadow experiences, State Earn and Learn programs through our the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship, and incumbent worker training.
Strategy 5.5: From state agencies to local boards, we need common and coordinated outreach to employers. The messages must be synchronized and common across all partners, in their promotion of postsecondary attainment and economic mobility for every Hoosier. Rather than the state spearheading connecting with businesses, the majority of this outreach should occur at the local level, with state backing. The state will focus its efforts instead on helping and supporting our local workforce boards’ and partners’ strategies to engage with employers. This interagency coordination should help foster increased business involvement as it reduces duplication of efforts, saving valuable resources and reducing businesses’ fatigue and weariness with the talent system.
Strategy 5.6: The state will work with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, local chambers, main street organizations, county and township trustees, business services divisions within the Workforce Development Boards, and other associations to help regularly disseminate information about state and federal programs.
Long-term strategies implemented by the end of 2024:
Strategy 5.7: Through state and local business conferences, Indiana’s Institute for Workforce Excellence, and the state’s coordinated communications with businesses, we will showcase businesses exhibiting innovative talent development practices to serve as both leaders and exemplars for others. We will highlight three different groundbreaking approaches from businesses:
- Through sustained and positive partnerships, state agencies and local boards can convey the mutual benefit investing in individuals will have for employers in terms of talent development, recruitment, and retention. We need all Hoosier businesses to recognize that investing in developing talent is not merely philanthropic but a positive long-term business strategy to creating a talent pipeline. There are several businesses in Indiana currently undertaking this work. Our strategy is to showcase the businesses that have created programs that invest in Hoosiers and community partners, which can provide exemplars other businesses can use to model their practices.
- To reach our goal of at least 60% of Hoosiers having a quality credential, we need businesses to train, recruit, and retain broader talent pools than what we currently have. With our association partners and through our coordinated communications strategy, state and local agencies will develop a communications campaign to help businesses understand the benefits of expanding their talent pipelines to include diverse and non-traditional hiring practices.
- We will also promote businesses diversifying the Indiana economy through innovative talent development, attraction, and recruitment policies as best practices.
(2) Describe the strategies the State will use to align the core programs, any Combined State Plan partner programs included in this Plan, required and optional one-stop partner programs, and any other resources available to the State to achieve fully integrated customer services consistent with the strategic vision and goals described above. Also describe strategies to strengthen workforce development activities in regard to weaknesses identified in section II(a)(2).
The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (GWC) was created by State Enrolled Act 50 during the 2018 legislative session. It replaced the State Workforce Board and allows for a more nimble and adaptive approach to systems alignment. Charged with aligning the state’s prekindergarten through career placement efforts, the GWC allows the Governor to focus on the entire talent development system, as well as the rapid pace of change of Indiana’s economy. As the GWC is comprised of employers, state agency leaders, and community partners, the structure provides the mechanism for various stakeholders to provide their perspectives while collectively creating a culture of lifelong learning that provides each Hoosier the opportunity to obtain quality employment, career sustainability, and upward mobility. Additionally, since seven different agencies are represented on the GWC, this new structure provides the opportunity for a comprehensive examination of Indiana’s various programs through the Combined Plan. The creation of the GWC offers an historic opportunity to align Indiana’s programs to strengthen its talent development system and address the current weaknesses challenging the system.
Alignment of Core, Partner, and State Programs
Indiana’s strategic vision is to create a talent development 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. One primary reason Indiana chose to submit a Combined Plan was to capitalize on the opportunity to take a comprehensive examination of our workforce development system and the various programs that comprise it. Each of our five goals outlines strategies supporting the alignment of our Core, Partner, and state programs to better meet the goals and needs of Hoosiers. Some particular strategies that will help us align programs include:
- Strategy 1.5: Examine potential uses for the TANF block grant towards paying for the costs of certification examinations in high wage, high demand fields, and funding wraparound supports (such as childcare and transportation) that are major barriers to people engaging with the labor market.
- Using TANF to gradually decrease Hoosiers’ reliance on government benefits for wraparounds supports, which will allow other programs, such as our WIOA programs, to focus their resources on employment and training services.
- Strategy 2.1: Examining the eligibility requirements and allowances for each program illustrates how our target populations can be co-enrolled in various programs to ensure their needs are comprehensively met. Throughout the Operational Elements sections of this Combined Plan, we identify how the funding within our Core, Partner, state, philanthropic, and/or sectoral partnerships can be prioritized towards certain services to increase local braiding of resources. As Indiana implements its Combined Plan, state agencies will strive to reduce any state administrative processes to align and simplify eligibility identification and reporting.
- Strategy 2.2: To facilitate the reduction of administrative processes, we will increase and enhance interagency Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to connect social services with workforce development services. These MOUs will proactively address co-enrollment, co-location, data sharing, and cross marketing efforts.
- Strategy 2.5: We will increase the number of co-located offices by 100% over the next 2 years. This will include offering mobile services in various hubs of activity, such as WorkOnes, schools, community centers, libraries, and city halls.
- Strategy 3.3: Early education is a proven early intervention leading to improved educational, social, and health outcomes. Access to quality early learning also helps address the need for childcare and increases parents’ ability to seek work or training. TANF currently funds childcare and early education, but we need to look to other wraparound support services that could assist with offsetting these costs for those Hoosier earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line and to maximize our Child Care and Development Fund dollars.
- Strategy 3.4: Indiana is redesigning our CTE courses and programs to have more industry relevance and alignment with postsecondary education. This will better connect secondary and postsecondary Perkins funds, as well as bring Perkins into alignment with other WIOA programs.
- Strategy 3.5: Our in-school youth programs, such as JAG and Youth Assistance, are directed towards preventing Hoosiers from needing Adult Education or other triage services in the future. Pairing those programs closer with career counseling, CTE and academic courses, and work-based learning experiences will help at-risk students start down a career pathway prior to graduation.
- Strategy 4.1: The primary strategy permeating Indiana’s Combined Plan is increasing co-enrollment of Hoosiers into multiple programs. This strategy will help us meet all of our Goals and actualize our Vision. As noted above, the Operational Elements will delve deeper into how Indiana envisions the co-enrollment of Hoosiers into our Core, Partner, state, philanthropic, and sectoral programs.
- Strategy 4.2: Indiana needs to ensure that our state programs are seamlessly aligned to and complementary of our federal programs, particularly in our economic development activities. As we recruit individuals or businesses to Indiana through various state initiatives, we must have deliberate alignment with our talent development programs.
- Strategy 4.7: Over the next four years, state leaders from the executive and legislative branches will evaluate in which state agencies the Core and Partner programs need to be housed with the goal of streamlining the talent development system. Restructuring at the state level will also help facilitate increasing co-location of services at the local level.
- Strategy 5.4: We have recently started emphasizing work-based learning experiences in the high school space, as well as vertically aligning elementary and middle schools experiences with the work-based learning continuum. As these opportunities continue to grow for our students, we must also ensure that a comparable work-based learning system for adults also evolves.
Weakness #1: Limited formal collaboration of programs across the workforce and social services systems. One of the most effective ways to support individuals facing barriers to the labor market is to increase access to meaningful and sustainable career training and employment pathways. Because family-sustaining employment and economic mobility are so closely linked, collaboration between our workforce and social services systems is essential. Neither system individually has the resources, capacity, or expertise to support individuals overcoming intergenerational poverty and systemic barriers to employment to fulfill personal aspirations and economic mobility. While there are pockets of collaborative success of these two systems, we need to scale this type of integration of our system to ensure that appropriate employment services and wraparound supports exist throughout the state.
Through the GWC and the Combined Plan, Governor Holcomb’s administration has recognized the overlap in the populations being served by our social and workforce development programs. Because our workforce and social services systems are often unconnected, we believe the inclusion of Goals 2 and 4 in the Combined Plan will address the need for greater coordination of our programs. Our current approach has created singular programs trying to provide and accomplish all things for Hoosiers. While we have demonstrated some achievement in connecting Hoosiers to the supports they need to find success, increased integration of our programs will expand our system’s overall effectiveness and impact for our constituents.
Through aligned efforts by all the agencies represented, programmatic silos are being replaced with a concerted effort to meet the individual’s needs. The primary strategies from section II(c)(1) aimed at addressing this weakness, include:
- Aligning administrative processes for eligibility identification and reporting across the Core, Partner, and state programs through Memoranda of Understanding (Strategy 2.1 and 2.2),
- Increasing co-marketing and endorsed marketing efforts (Strategy 2.2),
- Creating data charters between agencies to allow for cross-agency analyses (Strategy 2.4),
- Increasing co-location of services (Strategy 2.5 and 2.6),
- Developing a common intake process (Strategy 2.9),
- Increasing co-enrollment in programs (Strategies 1.3, 2.8, and 4.1), and
- Long-term development of a common case management system (Strategy 2.12).
Weakness #2: Insufficient awareness of potential programs and services available for Hoosiers. Indiana benefits from having a great deal of state, community-based, and philanthropic programs to complement its federal programs. All of our Core and Partner Programs are augmented through programs outside of the Combined Plan. One challenge, as denoted above, is further integration of these programs with our Core and Partner programs. An additional challenge is communicating and raising awareness of Indiana’s myriad programs and services.
Communicating the options and opportunities to Hoosiers can be complicated. Not only because the system can be complex, but the multitude of options make it a challenge for individuals to find. Additionally, dispelling some confusion of our workforce system is critical to ensuring accurate communication. For instance, it can be challenging for an individual to find which office provides what services or where should an individual or business go to connect with the correct person or agency. While both Goals 2 and 4 focus on simplifying our system by integrating our various programs, we must also have a coordinated approach to communicating opportunities to engage with the system.
For employers, several strategies within Goal 5 will help address this weakness:
- Conducting qualitative research into the causes preventing businesses from partnering with the state (Strategy 5.2),
- Increasing work-based learning opportunities (Strategy 5.4),
- Organizing common and coordinated outreach to employers (Strategy 5.5),
- Working with state and local organizations and associations to regularly disseminate information (Strategy 5.6), and
- Showcasing businesses with innovative hiring practices and engagement strategies (Strategy 5.7).
We have three avenues for individuals to learn of their opportunities to acquire any type of wraparound supports or engage (or re-engage, if needed) in secondary education, postsecondary education, and workforce training
- Developing career pathways that have multiple points of entry via stackable credentials and map towards a trajectory of career advancement and sustainability (Strategy 1.1),
- Implementing a comprehensive communications plan to raise the public’s understating of the multiple benefits and options to pursuing lifelong learning (Strategy 1.2), and
- Increasing career coaching and navigation efforts (Strategy 1.4).
Indiana will also increase awareness for state and local staff across program areas through cross-training and professional development opportunities to ensure that individuals who enter one office may be made aware of the services or eligibility for other programs, emphasizing Adult Education and postsecondary attainment opportunities (Strategies 2.4 and 2.7).
Weakness #3: Overreliance on the traditional talent pipeline and postsecondary pathways. For Indiana to maintain its economic vitality and competitiveness, we need to utilize all of our human capital. Additionally, to ensure greater economic momentum for our target populations, a multigenerational approach to developing, attracting, and retaining our talent pipeline will allow us to fulfill our current workforce demands and rise to the challenges of the future economy. Disrupting the cycles of poverty require providing our low-income students with opportunities for postsecondary education and training, but also their parents and community members. Indiana must diversify its current labor market participation, increasing the engagement of our target populations. In the past few years, Indiana has made great strides in connecting with populations that face barriers to the workforce. State programs, like HIRE and Last Mile, have targeted upskilling offenders prior to reintegration; employers, like Cook Medical, allow individuals to work and earn a high school equivalency; and philanthropies, like the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, have worked to increase access to quality Pre-Kindergarten programs serving low-income children.
Though we have improved our engagement of our target populations, there is still much work to do. There are many employers not taking advantage of our state and federal programs. We need to increase employer engagement and use of existing resources, specifically the use of the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. In order for Indiana to maintain its economic competitiveness with the rest of the nation and broader world, we must look beyond our traditional talent pipeline of the K-12 system and begin to diversify those we are training, recruiting, and attracting. We need to work with our employer community to promote diverse and non-traditional hiring practices. Because the majority of the GWC is comprised of employers, we can leverage our state workforce board to create a proactive talent development system as the economy and employers’ needs ebb and flow.
To improve this issue, our Combined Plan sets forth the following strategies:
- Career pathways comprised of stackable credentials aligned toward sustainable careers and filling the middle-skills gaps facing employers (Strategy 1.1),
- Relatedly, a redesigned CTE system for secondary and postsecondary courses also addressing the skills gap (Strategy 3.4),
- A communications campaign to help businesses understand the benefits of expanding their talent pipelines to include diverse and non-traditional hiring practices (Strategy 5.7), and
- Promoting businesses actively diversifying the Indiana economy through innovative talent development, attraction, and recruitment policies as best practices (Strategy 5.7).
 This will include economic status, racial and ethnic groups, gender identity, English learners, and disability status.
 Raj Chetty, March 2011. How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project Star.
 On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4 year olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program. It is funded by the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), a federal program that helps low-income families obtain childcare so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. The purpose of CCDF is to increase the availability, affordability, and quality of childcare.