• June 8, 2020
  • BY Jeff Quyle
  • News

Duke Energy Foundation Grant Bolsters Regional Workforce Programs

BEDFORD, Ind. (June 8, 2020) — Radius Indiana received a $20,000 Duke Energy Foundation Grant, which will help support workforce development programs in the Radius region from new training opportunities to talent attraction.

Workforce/Talent Attraction and Retention is part of the strategic plan that Radius developed in 2018. Since that time, Radius has created several new workforce programs, many of which are a first for the region’s rural communities.

“With the financial assistance from the Duke Energy Foundation, Radius Indiana and our partners will be able to provide more programs for targeted populations, especially veterans, the construction trades and the justice-involved in the region, which are underserved and important to our workforce,” said Radius Indiana President and CEO Jeff Quyle. “We are grateful to work with Duke and thank them for the generous grant that will help us bring new opportunities to our region and continue to be a resource to those who live and work here.”

Duke Energy is a constant supporter of economic development organizations and works closely with the communities it serves to understand the needs of businesses and community organizations. In addition to workforce development grants, the Duke Energy Foundation supports multiple economic development initiatives often to the benefit of rural counties like those in the Radius region.

“This grant is about helping Radius fill the skill gaps in our region’s workforce,” said Kurt Phegley, Duke Energy community relations manager for southwest Indiana. “The needs span a spectrum from advanced manufacturing to cybersecurity to construction trades. A well-trained workforce makes us competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining industry.”

Radius hopes to build the region’s workforce in both established and emerging industry sectors that are important to the regional economy. 

Advanced manufacturing is the region’s largest industry sector and provides jobs to 23 percent of the regional workforce. Radius is working with Vincennes University to implement the Catapult workforce training program at the Jasper Campus, which will upskill workers for jobs in manufacturing. In addition, Radius is working with local community corrections departments to use Catapult to train the justice-involved population of inmates released from county jails.

Construction is a much needed service that is struggling to meet local demand, in part because of a shortage of workers trained in the trades. Radius is partnering with the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation on the “Build Yourself” Training Program, which is equivalent to the first year of traditional apprenticeship training. Radius is the first rural region to try the program, which is also applicable to help the justice-involved population as well as those job seekers who need training to secure a job within the industry.

Cybersecurity is an emerging anchor industry for the region, due in part to the workforce needs of Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, where nearly 600 people are employed in cybersecurity and is also a growing need within many industries in the private sector. Radius is working with Eleven Fifty Academy (EFA), a non-profit bootcamp training program to establish Cybersecurity courses at WestGate Academy. Radius is also partnering with Ivy Tech to install a cybersecurity lab in Bedford. Through a national digital campaign, Radius is working to recruit veterans who could take advantage of the cybersecurity training programs and also fill myriad positions within the defense industry in the region.

For more information about any of the workforce training opportunities visit: radiusindiana.com.

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ABOUT RADIUS INDIANA: Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in Southern Indiana: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.