To the editor:

Two of the most significant challenges facing Indiana are improving the educational outcomes for all K through 12 students and greatly elevating the postsecondary attainment levels of our adult workforce.

Currently, Indiana is behind its competitor states in the race to develop and establish a well-skilled, well-educated workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. There are literally twice as many job openings in Indiana as there are jobseekers. And our workforce participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Let’s look at the breakdown. Our overall unemployment rate is now 2.2%, but that jumps to 4.6% for those with only a high school diploma and to over 7% for those with less than a high school diploma.

When it comes to workforce participation, the numbers are even more concerning. Just a little more than half of all Hoosiers with only a high school diploma are employed. For those with no high school diploma, over 60% are not in the workforce.

These metrics show Indiana has a massively leaking talent pipeline.

We must concentrate our policy focus and state resources on improving the outcomes and skills of those at the bottom end of the educational attainment scale. That’s one of the very best ways to improve our overall workforce participation rate and fill the open jobs we have.

The Indiana Chamber is seeking to frame this important conversation and push for transformative actions that will have the most impact. This summer, our organization is building out a workforce policy priority list for the Indiana General Assembly and governor, and we will share them publicly when available.

Bold action is what’s needed to repair our leaking talent pipeline and lift up the educational attainment and workforce skills of our citizens.

Kevin Brinegar

President and CEO

Indiana Chamber of Commerce