• Priorities Podcast

Indiana tackles workforce woes with training program

On the Priorities podcast, Jon Rogers, the Indiana Office of Technology’s director of strategic workforce planning, talks about State Earn and Learn, a workforce program that trains people with and without college degrees to take on careers in government IT.

“The goal of the program is to reskill citizens, adult citizens, in this case, from prior jobs,” Rogers says. “I have folks on the program who are truck drivers, factory workers, lawn cooks, grocery store workers — really a very diverse number of walks of life, to reskill.”

The program does not require any formal training, certificates or degrees. Instead, enrolled participants spend about 12 months doing “work-based learning” and earning industry credentials, after which they’re able to transition into a full-time job with the IT office — or soon, another state agency, Rogers says.

“[In the future], a person would not only potentially be going for an Indiana Office of Technology role, but maybe one with another agency,” Rogers says. “I’d love to see us expand that out even more to serve other agencies here in the executive branch.”

The importance of upskilling and preparing workers for public-sector IT jobs has been highlighted recently by many state CIOs noting the challenges of recruiting and retaining tech talent.

Also on the podcast, Bob Pucci, Tennessee’s executive director of intelligent automation, explains how the state is automating processes to improve customer experiences and give government services greater flexibility and scalability. The project was recently nominated for one of NASCIO’s Annual State IT Recognition Awards.

In the news this week:

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson says an apparent denial-of-service attack took down websites operated by his office for much of Election Day. No voting systems or vote counting equipment were affected. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says the agency was in touch with officials to help resolve the issue. The sites were back online Tuesday evening.

Pennsylvania is moving forward with next-generation 911 after selecting Mission Critical Partners to run the migration, implementation and post-migration phases at the commonwealth’s 911 call centers. 

Washington state has a new chief information security officer in Ralph Johnson, who’s currently the CISO for the company that owns the Los Angeles Times. Johnson was previously the CISO in Los Angeles County, California, and King County, Washington. Johnson’s new job will reunite him with Washington CIO Bill Kehoe, who was previously CIO of both counties.

StateScoop’s Priorities Podcast is available every Thursday. Listen more here.

If you want to hear more of the latest across the state and local government technology community, subscribe to the Priorities Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify and Stitcher.

Priorities Podcast


Each week, the Priorities Podcast will take you through the latest in state and local government technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending stories throughout the week, as well as feature conversations with top executives across government and industry on things like modernization, emerging technology and digital services.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop and EdScoop. He's spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins and outs of state and local government, as well as higher education. He started his journalism career in his native Pennsylvania and has also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.