Lasting Strategies to support a thriving Henry County

A quality workforce and talent strategy remains critical for both communities and businesses. The state and local unemployment rate is below 5% and by 2025 (less than 10 years) there will be 1 million job openings statewide.  What can we do as a community to support a thriving Henry County? Please consider the following approaches:

Short-Term Strategy:

Learn new skills, earn certifications, or finish your degree.  Please check out the following resources. Indiana Governor Holcomb has created new funding for training, called Next Level Jobs, (  The Workforce Ready Grant is for individuals and the Employer Training Grant serves employers. Learn More Indiana ( is a well-organized resource for people of all ages considering additional education.

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), a nationally recognized credential, can be earned by successfully completing three Work Keys Assessments.  These assessments are given at no charge through the local Work One office located at 3011 S. 14th Street New Castle.  For additional information, please call Work One at 765- 529-3010.  Demonstrate your “work ready” by earning the NCRC.

Mid-Term Strategy:

Thank you to Susan Falck-Neal, real estate professional and community leader, for highlighting the power of internships to keep more of Henry County’s young talent home.  A conversation with her and others led me to

The program’s mission is to be “the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent.”  Managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, with funding support from the Lilly Endowment, it is a free  web platform designed to match students with employers and also assist educators.

According to Indiana Intern.Net, internships offer employers the following benefits:

  1. Increase productivity
  2. Reduce recruiting costs
  3. Introduce fresh innovative perspectives
  4. Increase industry awareness
  5. Offer management experience (employees supervising interns)
  6. Increase workplace diversity

Student (intern) benefits include:

  1. Gain relevant career experience
  2. Explore career interests
  3. Build resume / portfolio
  4. Grow professional network
  5. Develop transferrable skills
  6. Gain full time employment
  7. Earn college credit

The benefit to the community is talent retention.

Intern:  Be one.  Host one. Encourage one.

This column would not be complete without including the New Castle Career Center, which by the way, helps their students seek internships.  If you are a parent or have influence with a student, please consider this program.  It is not Plan B for students; it is Plan A.  Learn more by visiting or call (765) 593-6680.

Long-Term Strategy:

As I have written in this space before, our community must continue the quest for greater access to high quality early childhood education and childcare facilities.  Pre-k offers a strong return on investment (ROI) of $4 for every $1 invested.  The ROI is realized through reduced high-school dropout rates, improved health behaviors, reduced burden on the criminal justice system and higher individual earning potential.  Another aspect of early childhood education is ensuring communities have high quality childcare providers as measured by the state’s Paths to Quality Initiative.  Could the business community partner with schools and child care facilities to increase access?  Is adequate childcare available for 2nd and 3rd shifts?  Is the lack of childcare impacting employee attendance?

In conclusion, please remember the four public libraries serving Henry County. Do you have your library card?  Have you visited your local public library?  Please access their tremendous resources and educational programming for life-long learning.  Sidney Sheldon said, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *