Rep. Bosma’s HB 1002 creating the Indiana Career Council seems more aspirational than prescriptive. But, it passed the House 99 – 0, so maybe it actually does more than is apparent to me.
It creates the Career Council and populates it with various government officials, the President of Ivy Tech, and a few people representing labor, education, and the life sciences industry appointed by the Governor. It sets before the Council the broad tasks of coordinating the state’s education, job skills development, and career training system, and matching education and skills with the job market.
It also mandates the development of the “Indiana Workforce Intelligence System” “to improve the effect of the state’s educational delivery system on the economic opportunities of individuals and the state’s workforce, and to guide state and local decision makers.to improve the effect of the state’s educational delivery system on the economic opportunities of individuals and the state’s workforce, and to guide state and local decision makers.” The legislation mandates certain inputs into the data system and requires that it “effectively organize, manage, break down, and analyze educational and workforce data.” The Department of Workforce Development, the Department of Education, and the Commission for Higher Education to feed data into the system.
The bill gives the Career Council until July 1, 2018, to contract for the development of the system, and, after that, gives that authority to the Governor. The Career Council is charged with administering the system once created.
Having data that matches job market demands with job market supplies is not objectionable. But, I thought this was the sort of thing that the free market was supposed to take care of. Where supply is inadequate to demand, the market provides a signal about the mismatch in the form of rising price offered for the skill set needed; creating an incentive for suppliers to develop that skill for fun and profit. In other words, if employers need certain skills, the one offering the highest compensation will get the limited supply. Meanwhile, workers wanting to make more money will start learning the skill. If it’s true that the Skills Mismatch theory of Unemployment really is more myth than truth, then this Career Council and Intelligence System is likely to be little more than a boondoggle in favor of whoever gets the contract to develop it.