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Basic skills tax credit legislation proposed
One of the Department of Workforce Development's legislative priorities is the enactment of a basic skills tax credit that will provide employers with a state tax credit to provide training for employees.
The proposal is part of the state's new Accelerating Growth economic development strategy announced last year and seeks to address the workforce literacy challenges that Indiana faces. An Indiana Chamber of Commerce study released in late 2005 found that one in three incumbent workers have literacy skills below what is needed for successful employment in the 21st Century.
The basic skills tax credit would provide employers with a tax credit incentive and would subsidize tuition costs for employees to pursue certificates and credentials that demonstrate proficiency in workplace basic skills. The state tax credit program would be capped at $5 million per year or $10 million for the biennium, and funding would come from penalties and interest accumulated in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) is authoring this legislation.
By moving to a simplified tax credit program, small employers would be more likely to participate in providing training assistance to their workers.
WorkKeys funding extension sought
Another Department of Workforce Development legislative initiative seeks to extend by four years a funding commitment made by the General Assembly for the WorkKeys skills assessment program.
In 2003, the General Assembly enacted legislation directing that no more than $5 million per year be used for the WorkKeys program from 2004 - 2008. The funds for this program are provided through the federal Reed Act. The proposed legislation extends the period until 2012 and will ensure that these funds continue to be used for WorkKeys activities.
The WorkKeys program profiles jobs and helps determine what skills are necessary to perform specific jobs. It also helps determine the skills and skill levels that individuals possess and helps determine the type of training would be appropriate for the individual.
The WorkKeys system has been used by the Department for emerging, incumbent and displaced workers, and as an economic development incentive to attract new or expand businesses.
For more information on WorkKeys, go here.
Linking learning to earning
The connection between years of education completed and earning potential is well known to economic and workforce development officials. Put simply, the more you learn, the more you earn.
New statistics released recently through the Quality Counts 2007 report confirms this basic fact. Quality Counts is a project funded by the Pew Research Trust and published by Education Week.
A college graduate in the United States earns, on average, $23,441 more per year than a high school graduate, and $31,595 more than a high school dropout. College graduates also are more likely than high school graduates to have full-time, year-round employment, and are about 20 percent more likely to be fully employed as those without a high school diploma.
The report is available on line and contains a wealth of information on the link between learning and earning and other workforce readiness and education indicators and data. To access the report, go here.
State helps returning national guard, reservists at Camp Atterbury
The Department of Workforce Development has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army and Department of Labor to ensure that employment, unemployment, reemployment, and training information is provided to all returning soldiers as they return to civilian life. The returning soldiers go through demobilization at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh. Camp Atterbury is one of six demobilization sites throughout the nation which receives troops as they return from assignment.
At the camp, DWD personnel fill out "Hire a Veteran Form" for all returning troops, collect the form and mail them to U.S. Department of Labor VETS offices in the home states of the soldiers. Other services provided to the servicemen and women include information on how to find a local employment office near their residence, what services are provided at that office, general reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and general information regarding unemployment benefits. The Department has stationed a Local Veteran's Employment Representative at Camp Atterbury on a full-time basis.
State Chamber to Host Internship Symposium
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its Indiana INTERNnet program are hosting a "Live, Learn and Earn Internship Symposium" which is focused on connecting educators and employers for long-term collaborations.
The day-long symposium will include speakers from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Northwestern Mutual - two organizations who have been consistently recognized as operating internship programs among the best in the country. Also scheduled to speak is Indiana entrepreneur Scott Jones who will talk about the power of internships.
The event is scheduled for:
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Indiana Chamber Conference Center
115 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
For more information, go here