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Skillful is billed as a workforce development initiative from the New York-based Markle Foundation. But Skillful Indiana’s executive director is adamant that the organization is not trying to clog an already full and sometimes confusing wheelhouse of workforce development programs in the state.
Instead, former Allison Transmission executive Bill Turner says, Skillful Indiana is meant to complement and enhance work already being done by state and local officials.
“We are not a new initiative for the state,” Turner said. “What I’m trying to do is give them tools to help with what they’re doing.”
The Markle Foundation, in partnership with Microsoft and LinkedIn, started Skillful in 2016 in Colorado. Microsoft Philanthropies gave Skillful $25.8 million in 2017. LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, provides networking services to Skillful.
When Skillful announced in the fall that Indiana would be its first expansion, Gov. Eric Holcomb described it as a “game-changer” for the state. Skillful officials say they chose Indiana because of Holcomb’s focus on workforce development and his prior involvement in the Skillful State Network, which gives states the opportunity to share best practices and access some of Skillful’s resources.