A newly issued progress report from TechPoint on the first 10 months of its Mission41K initiative shows good overall progress, including a slight advance in the organization’s mission to inclusively grow the state’s tech workforce by 41,000 by 2030 and solidify Indiana’s national reputation as a vibrant tech hub.
The new report compares 2022 job growth to the first several months of 2023 and shows the Indiana tech workforce has grown more than 5.6 percent in 2023–double that of 2022.
“While the increase may seem slight, moving the needle in our first months of implementation represents progress and indicates we are doing the right things to accomplish much more in the future,” said Dennis Trinkle, TechPoint’s senior vice president, talent, strategy, and partnerships. “With additional time and focus, we are confident we will see greater impact.”
Though the tech workforce overall saw a 5.6 percent increase, women and people of color saw only a one percent increase in their representation in the tech workforce. Still, this is an improvement.
“It’s important to note that participation rates from these groups [women and people of color] had not been moving at all,” Trinkle pointed out. “We’re pleased that the collective efforts under Mission41K have started to generate movement.”
Organizations Driving Change
TechPoint is not the only organization seeking to drive change. The report singles out six organizations helping raise awareness, remove obstacles, and grow the tech workforce in Indiana. Trinkle said one, in particular, shows great promise for kickstarting tech careers for Black Hoosiers: InnoPower.
TechPoint partnered with InnoPower, an Indianapolis social enterprise that works with communities and stakeholders to create capacity-building opportunities for underrepresented ecosystems, to go into the community and talk to prospective Black tech workers about the barriers they face trying to enter the tech space, find ways to overcome them, and then implement those ideas. The outreach effort centered on design thinking sessions and took place in Indianapolis, Gary, and Fort Wayne.
InnoPower’s early efforts earned a $300,000 grant from the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative (AAQLI) to fund its first action step: creating an adult apprenticeship program in central Indiana for low-income, Black men and women. Step two will be to build an identifiable and connected statewide tech talent development and placement ecosystem. This interactive ecosystem will identify non-traditional training providers, traditional institutions, student support organizations, and employers. The interactive ecosystem map will allow InnoPower to connect the dots better, refrain from duplication of efforts, and quantify progress in real-time.
“We’re very optimistic that InnoPower’s approach will raise awareness that tech careers are available to minority populations and that there is help available to overcome barriers to them,” Trinkle said. “These are positions that offer generational change for families, so the opportunity is huge.”
Other success stories detailed in the report include efforts from:
- Indianapolis Public Schools, which is using a $75,000 Education Readiness Grant from the Indiana Office of Career and Technical Education to encourage high school students to seek careers in information technology, cybersecurity, and software development, identified as positions in high demand by Indiana businesses.
- Ivy Tech Community College, which is providing career pathways for Hoosiers that meet the needs of employers for tech and tech-reliant talent through Ivy Tech’s Ivy+ IT Academy, and
- Allegion, Eli Lilly, and Zotec Partners all of which use skills-based hiring practices and proactively work to establish pathways to tech positions.
Demand For Skilled Tech Workers Will Continue
The report shows demand for talent in 2022 was strong across all tech fields but was especially high across the key drivers of digital transformation: software, infrastructure, cloud, artificial intelligence and automation, and cybersecurity. These areas reflect Indiana’s most pressing skill needs and the increased development of individuals with these vital skills. The increase in tech job creation represents both the increasing demand for high-skilled tech-fluent talent and an increased pool of hired candidates.
TechPoint President and CEO Ting Gootee said, “The success of Indiana’s economy heavily depends upon the state’s ability to train and equip Hoosiers with the skills and talents needed to work in the country’s rapidly changing digital economy.”
A key finding of the report is that 92 percent of all jobs currently require some level of tech skill, so every Hoosier needs–or will need–to acquire those skills if they don’t already have them. There are currently 9,299 tech businesses operating in the state. Collectively, those organizations posted 54,198 open tech positions in 2022.
“While Indiana leads many states in developing high-skilled, tech-fluent talent, the number of open tech jobs is greater than the number of people with the skills to fill them. The acceleration of artificial intelligence and automation means we have continued work to do in developing talent with skills needed for our economies of the future,” Gootee continued.
Mission41K is designed to attack these challenges head-on through state-wide collaboration and with proven practices like skills-based hiring, work-based learning, employer talent development, and adult apprenticeships.
What Comes Next
The report shows the initiative is succeeding in fostering collaboration and driving real increases in new job creation and the development of tech talent. More than 100 organizations signed on as collaborative partners in the Mission41K movement—with Techpoint’s Gootee saying she was heartened by the level of collaboration from the private sector.
“Our early wins show the power of collaboration,” said Gootee. “By working collaboratively across public, private, nonprofit, for-profit, education, and community-based groups, we can have an even greater collective impact, which will directly increase the economic well-being of Hoosier families and will also catalyze business creation and growth.”
Read the report here.