INDIANAPOLIS — The 3.9 percent unemployment rate Indiana is making it difficult for manufacturers in the state to find workers, especially those qualified in the in the high-tech field.

The Indiana Manufacturers Association proposed giving people incentives to move to the state to solve their workforce woes, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

The association’s president, Brian Burton, recently proposed the idea at the 2017 Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable and Construction Advancement Foundation’s Business & Economic Outlook at Ivy Tech in Valparaiso.

“We’ve got to develop programs to attract workers, and by doing so we’ll attract employers,” Burton said. “This is our No. 1 issue. Everywhere we go and everyone we talk to, this is the key component. . We are going to also push an incentive for individuals relocating to the state of Indiana. We do nothing to attract workers to our state.”

The association said it also plans to lobby the legislature next year for financial incentives like state income tax credit for people to relocate to Indiana to work in high-demand industrial areas, and to further develop the workforce in other ways, including encouraging high school career counselors to push students toward manufacturing.

“It would give the state of Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and communities the opportunity to use that tool also,” Burton said. “We are also looking for legislation to allow local communities to provide incentives to also be more competitive. We have a population issue.”

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