Special Report: You're hired! - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Special Report: You're hired!

(WFIE) (WFIE)
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

Workforce experts tell us that there are more skilled jobs available in the Tri-State than there are skilled workers to fill them.

We found out for this Special Report that the demand for skilled workers is so great, you can even get paid for learning new skills.

Eric Parker is about to become one of the first graduates of Ivy Tech's new Skill Up program.

"This program allowed me to have the best of both worlds," he said. "I was still working, yet going through this program and then get my foot in the door."

After five weeks of classroom instruction, Eric is wrapping up another six weeks of learning while actually working. In this case, assembling furnace blower wheels at Wabash Plastics.

From the first day in the classroom to the last day on the plant floor, the program paid Eric $12.50 an hour more than he was making in the dead end job he left.
 
"It's a real deal, it's real training, it's a real opportunity is what it is," Eric said.

And with that foot in the door, Eric could actually advance all the way to a supervisor or beyond.

"It afforded me the opportunity to better the life of my family," he told us.

At 46-years-old, Eric is proof that it's never too late to go back for training.

Likewise, it's never too soon to start gaining skills.

"So we're trying to get these people to fit these needs," said Jim Heck.

Jim is the Executive Director of Grow Southwest Indiana Workforce. He says employers and educators have teamed up with parents and students to create pathways for career success that begin as early as middle school.

"The pathways create better fits for student and employers because they build on the skills that a student wants to learn," said Jim.

The EVSC's Southwest Indiana Career and Technical Center is just one example.

"You can complete training out there through one of these career pathways and you can walk into a job making $40,000 or $50,000 a year right out of high school," Jim told us.

Those Pathways can extend into universities, which are better than ever at preparing students for the jobs the economy is actually creating. But College isn't the only pathway to success for the young. Or the older.

Eric says people his age often feel stuck in their jobs.

"In all this, I'd like to tell them it doesn't have to be that way, not with this new program, it doesn't have to be that way," said Eric.

Bottom line, get that high school diploma and build on it. Create a pathway that gets you where you want to go.

On the day we interviewed Eric for this story, he interviewed for a job with Wabash Plastics. Since then, he's been hired.

There are several incentives like Ivy Tech's Skill Up program. Check with your local employment office.

If you're a student, make sure your counselor has you on a pathway to career success.

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