Employers across the state are struggling to find qualified workers. As the Chamber’s new vice president of education and workforce development, Jason Bearce will partner with members and others in these fields to help bridge the gap. Jason shares a few of his passions and past-times.

What excites you most about your role at the Chamber?

“I spent almost 20 years focused on state policy issues with the Indiana Department of Education and Indiana Commission (CHE) for Higher Education, most recently as senior associate commissioner (for CHE).

“I like to be in a position where I can have an impact on issues that matter. And I’m not sure there’s an issue that matters more to the future of communities in our state than having a vibrant education and workforce system. To be at the Chamber working directly with employers to make sure their perspective is represented as decisions are being made is an opportunity that I find very appealing and exciting.”

You’ll also be involved with Indiana INTERNnet. Why are internships so beneficial?

“More and more Hoosiers recognize the value of internships today, but we’ve reached sort of a tipping point where it’s become clear that these types of experiences are no longer optional – they’re essential for both individuals and employers.

“Internships should be a fundamental part of every employer’s talent pipeline. I’d be willing to bet that most employers that have a meaningful internship program have gained as much – if not more – from the experience than the intern they had at their workplace.”

How do you typically start your day?

“Generally, it’s been starting with a new baby crying or a toddler taking the place of the alarm clock. Coffee is definitely a must for survival these days. I like to jog in the morning, but that’s been happening with less and less frequency!”

Describe the Chamber’s newly created Institute for Workforce Excellence (coming in 2019).

“To some extent it’s taking services the Chamber already offers and repackaging them in a way that better responds to the critical workforce needs of employers. At the same time, we’ll be looking to launch new resources and initiatives that provide an even broader array of opportunities to support Indiana employers in growing a thriving workforce.”

What are some of the best things your parents taught you?

“Hard work. Generosity. Loyalty. And stubbornness.”

You’re passionate about volunteering. Talk about your experience with the Starfish Initiative.

“It’s a mentoring initiative specifically for low-income students that are enrolled in the state’s 21st Century Scholars Program, which provides up to four years of paid college tuition. They’re often the first members of their family to continue their education beyond high school.

“Mentoring a young man and watching him go from being an eighth grader to now he’s employed and he’s a grown-up – that was a gratifying experience.”

Symone Skrzycki is the communications manager for the Indiana Chamber. She is also a writer for the Chamber’s award-winning BizVoice magazine and has been with the organization for 18 years.