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ERAC Looking To Fill Natural Resource Management Positions

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is looking for individuals to fill two Special Member seats to serve two-year terms on the Environmental Resources Advisory Council, or ERAC.

The ERAC acts in an advisory capacity to the Board of Park Commissioners, on policy matters pertaining to the operation of city-managed natural areas or facilities.

To fill these positions, the ERAC specifically needs people who have expertise in the field of outdoor recreation and environmental education programs, and people who have expertise in natural resources management. Special member applicants must reside or own property in Monroe County. More information about the positions is available online, at Bloomington.in.gov/parks

Interchange – The Wages of Labor: Bloomington’s Industrial Past

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This week on Interchange, host Trish Kerle speaks with Carrol Krause, author of Showers Brothers Furniture Co: The Shared Fortunes of a Family, a City, and a University and Joe Varga, Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at Indiana University and a labor and social justice activist.

Since the 1870s, Bloomington has been shaped by the ebb and flow of industrialization – and de-industrialization, beginning with the Showers Brothers Furniture Company, followed by the RCA radio and television factory, right up to today with what appears to be – the fading presence of General Electric. Krause and Varga talk about the history of those companies, their impact on the city, and the rise of organized labor in Bloomington.

Middle-Skill Level Job Openings Set To Increase Exponentially In Next Ten Years

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The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition released a report yesterday that finds a growing number of unfilled ‘middle skills’ jobs, and concludes that Indiana’s Skills Gap is an adult problem that will require adult solutions.

Jessica Fraser, program manager and co-chair of the coalition, says in this report they define a middle skills job as a job  that requires training, that is more than a high school diploma, but less than a four year degree.

Mostly, it is one-year credentials or two-year associate degrees.

She also mentions that this is a update to a report they rolled out in 2010.

“In the ten-year projection from this report, we found that there were 63,000 more middle-skills job than in the projection we did three years ago,” Fraser says. “This means more opportunity in the middle-skills job market.”

According to Fraser, middle-skills jobs mean more than that for Hoosiers.

In the short term, the jobs don’t require four-year college education, which makes people get re-trained relatively quickly and able to make a family-sustaining wage if they lost their jobs.

“There are jobs that are required to take place here in Indiana,” Fraser says, “Not only that, but they are high wage jobs, and I think that’s the key takeaway for Hoosiers in the long term.”

Despite all these benefits middle skills job brings to Hoosiers job market, the report finds that the largest and fastest-growing segment of Indiana’s skills gap comes from middle-skill jobs.

Fraser says that 55 percent of the jobs in 2012 were classified as middle-skill, but only 47 percent of people in Indiana had the skills for those jobs.

“Based on a ten-year projection, 550,000 job openings will be coming up as middle-skill. We simply won’t have nearly enough workers to fill those positions,” Fraser says.

To fill the gap, the Coalition has selected four policy priorities: allow part-time students greater access to state financial aid, continue differentiation of services for students in adult basic education, maximize on-the-job training opportunities and promote the statewide establishment of prior learning assessments.

“Jobs For Hoosiers” Bill Requires Unemployed To Meet With WorkOne Counselors After Fourth Week Of Benefits

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Hoosiers getting unemployment insurance will face new requirements thanks in part to the “Jobs For Hoosiers” bill recently signed into effect by Governor Mike Pence.

This bill affects those who have recently filed for unemployment benefits.

In their fourth week of unemployment, the bill requires them to go to a local WorkOne center for a review of their work search record and an orientation to WorkOne services.

We spoke to the Department of Workforce Development spokesperson Joe Frank about what kind of free services WorkOne offers and how they will benefit unemployed Hoosiers.

“We offer tons of free services like resume assistance, interview coaching, and career counselors,” Frank says, “We even have computer classes that can increase your skill level in Microsoft Word and Office so you’re ready to be employed as quickly as possible.”

Frank says these benefits aren’t just for the unemployed.

The DWD actually works with Indiana businesses to find out what kind of employee they are looking to hire.

This helps them match up anyone looking for a job to a business that fits their skills.

This isn’t only offered to the unemployed and anyone looking to find a better job in their career field can utilize these programs as well.

Frank explains how a national effort to lower unemployment spurred this local act.

“When the federal government re-authorized benefits after the 26th week of unemployment last year, they mandated that folks come into the WorkOne centers to take a look at their work search,” Frank says, “We really found out that it was such a benefit to people. We heard a lot people say they didn’t know all the free services we offered and wish they had known sooner. This is really aimed at getting Hoosiers back to work as soon as possible.”

Those who qualify for these changes can go to www.in.gov/dwd and see what program best fits them.

 

By Casey Kuhn

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