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Coalition Looks to Help "Middle Skilled" Workers Find Jobs

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The Skills2Compete Coalition is made up of left-leaning groups like organized labor and conservative lawmakers like Republican State Senator Dennis Kruse. Jessica Fraser, the program manager for the Indiana Institute for Working Families, says she isn't surprised to see the coaltion since both sides want to see more jobs accessible to those who may have a high school diploma but not a four-year college degree.

The coalition defines "middle skills" as those jobs that require a certificate or a two-year degree, and Fraser says many of those types of jobs in Indiana are going unfilled for lack of a properly trained workforce.

The coalition will push legislation that will, among other things, make it easier for part-time college students to receive financial aid, which is generally reserved for full-time students. They also want to expand Indiana's Individual Development Account program to allow those participating to spend their money on reliable transportation. IDA's are savings accounts designed to encourage low-income families to save for the purchase of a home, invest in a higher education for the individual or for a minor child or for the starting or expansion of a small business. Money invested in the accounts is matched by the state on a three-to-one basis.

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