Work Force Issue Looms in NE Indiana

VERBATIM Inside Indiana Business:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Twenty percent of the adult workforce in northeast Indiana is at or nearing retirement age, according to the August Labor Market Information Report released by Northeast Indiana Works.

That, said Northeast Indiana Works President and CEO Kathleen Randolph, underscores the need to equip younger workers with the skills and education necessary to meet the 21st-century demands of the region’s employers.

“We know from some of the employers we work with that losing skilled, experienced people to retirement is a major concern,” Randolph said. “It is imperative that we upskill younger workers already in the workforce and that we make sure training and education pathways for in-demand jobs are available for those who have yet to enter the workforce.”

The latest labor market information report was compiled for Northeast Indiana Works by the Community Research Institute at IPFW.

Of the estimated 324,845 people 19 years old to 65-plus in the workforce in 11 northeast Indiana counties, 66,524 are 55 and older – or 20.5 percent. Some industry sectors will face an even greater challenge in keeping the employment pipeline stocked.

Among the industries with higher percentages of workers 55 to 65-plus:

–Public education, 28.1 percent
–Truck transportation, 26.2 percent
–Machinery manufacturing, 25.5 percent.
–Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods, 23.9 percent
–Insurance carriers and related activities, 23.7 percent.
–Social assistance, 23.1 percent
–Motor vehicle and parts dealers, 22.9 percent
–Private hospitals, 22.9 percent

Among the occupations with looming aging-workforce challenges:

–Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, with 30.4 percent of workers ages 55 to 65-plus.
–Secondary school teachers, except special and career-technical education, 29 percent.
–Elementary school teachers, except special education, 28.7 percent.
–Medical secretaries, 28.4 percent
–Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, 26.9 percent
–Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, 26.2 percent.<br /> –Maintenance and repair workers, 25.4 percent
–Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers, 24.8 percent
–Registered nurses, 24.2 percent
–Machinists, 24.1 percent