Justin Hicks

Workforce Development Reporter

Justin Hicks has joined the reporting team for Indiana Public Broadcasting News (IPB News) through funding made available by (IPBS) Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Justin will be based out of WVPE in his new role as a Workforce Development Reporter for IPB News. 

Justin comes to Indiana by way of New York. He has a Master's Degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He previously earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet. He first learned about Elkhart, Indiana, because of the stamp on his brass instrument indicating where it was produced. 

Not long ago, Justin started a branch of Young Eisner Scholars to work with intellectually curious students in Appalachia. He traveled through rural counties to start a dialogue about math, computer programming, writing, science and philosophy. 

Justin was born and raised in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. He currently lives in South Bend with his dog, Charlotte. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Unions across Indiana rallied Friday to pressure Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun into voting for pro-union legislation. The Protecting the Right to Organize, or PRO, Act has already passed a House vote, but doesn’t have enough support in the Senate.

Erik Anderson / Wikimedia Commons

A federal labor board sided with an Indiana union Wednesday in a dispute over a display outside of a trade show in Elkhart. It signals government support for a classic labor protest symbol, known by many as Scabby the Rat.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Unionized health care workers in northwest Indiana demanded better pay and pushed lawmakers to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage as they rallied outside their union hall in Merrillville.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Democrats in Indiana have hit the road to rally support for President Joe Biden’s more than $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan. The politicians say they’d like – but don't need – bipartisan support in Congress where it’s expected to get a vote soon.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Some Hoosiers received the first monthly installment of a child tax credit Thursday. It’s a one-year-only program from the American Rescue Plan designed to help families emerge from the pandemic.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Federal unemployment benefits are back on in Indiana. State officials said they’ve already paid 25,000 people on the first day while they also gave updates on unemployment fraud and overpayments at a press conference.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Angela Wible’s 12th wedding anniversary is this week. She said she and her husband go to different zoos “almost religiously” to celebrate. But this year, they can't afford that small luxury. 

Justin Hicks / IPBS News

In another win for unemployed Hoosiers, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Indiana must follow a lower court’s order forcing it to restart federal unemployment benefits. After weeks of legal filings, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development says it estimates federal benefits to be available again starting July 16. 

Screenshot from MakeInMove

An Indiana nonprofit wants the newest generation of workers to consider careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics. Conexus Indiana says there are lots of good-paying jobs and the demand is growing for workers.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Many employers say they have a hard time finding skilled workers, but researchers say the solution could already be here: highly skilled immigrants, already in the country, who just need access to a credential. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Last week, an Indiana judge ordered the state to restart federal unemployment benefits. But so far, the state hasn’t released any firm plans to follow that order as it asks a higher court to halt it. 

Justin Hicks / IPBS News

Youth work permits are no more in Indiana after a new law takes effect on July 1 which requires employers – not workers – to register with the state.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A federal judge is temporarily blocking a new Indiana law – Senate Enrolled Act 251 – aimed at teachers unions. It was set to take effect Thursday and would require teachers to sign language that unions believe is unconstitutional and anti-union.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A federal judge will decide this week if she will temporarily block a new law aimed at teachers unions. The court heard arguments Tuesday morning on extra steps the state wants to add for teachers to pay union dues.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Teachers unions will get their day in court Tuesday as they seek an emergency injunction against a law that would change how union dues are deducted. Senate Enrolled Act 251 was signed into law earlier this year, but takes effect July 1.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Unemployed Hoosiers celebrate after an Indiana judge ordered the state Friday afternoon to restart federal unemployment benefits. That order directs officials to contact the federal Department of Labor “immediately” to restart the agreement.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana’s unemployment rate ticked upwards in May to reach 4%, compared to 3.9% in April. Although the number of unemployed Hoosiers rose, so did the number of people with jobs or looking for work.

Screenshot of YourNextStepIN website.

As thousands of Hoosiers still struggle with unemployment in the wake of  COVID-19, the state is offering free online career counseling funded by the federal CARES Act.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Campus tours happen all the time at Purdue University, but one recently was a little different. Instead of fresh-faced high schoolers, they’re actively recruiting adults with jobs that allow them to work remotely.

Indiana may be forced to reinstate federal unemployment benefits following a hearing in Superior Court on Wednesday where groups argued for an emergency injunction to stop the state from ending those benefits.

Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons

Cori Brunson of Fort Wayne was a student at the local ITT Tech campus. She was just three months from being certified as a registered nurse. Then, just before her semester began in 2016, she got a voicemail saying classes were canceled.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Three central Indiana teachers unions are suing the state over a new law they say violates teachers’ constitutional rights to free speech. Senate Enrolled Act 251 requires teachers to opt in every school year via a consent form and then again by email to have union dues automatically deducted. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A new program starting later this month will give workers a pathway into highway construction careers. It’s a joint project between the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Construction Roundtable. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Starting this week, unemployed Hoosiers will once again need to prove they are searching for work in order to receive jobless benefits. The requirements are normal, but were waived for more than a year as a form of pandemic relief.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana saw 32 highway work zone deaths in 2019, the most recent year with available data. That’s higher than any year in almost a decade. But researchers at Purdue University are trying to use data to stop accidents before they happen.

Coolcaeser/Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement this week with a central Indiana furniture store for failing to rehire a soldier upon return from duty. That’s a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Courtesy of the Office of Career Connections and Talent

The Indiana Career Connections and Talent secretary will step down from her role on June 7. It comes just months after her department was absorbed several months ago by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. 

Screenshot of Zoom call

Indiana just designated two areas – one on the border of Louisville and the other in north central Indiana – as "talent regions." It means local agencies are planning ways to turn existing residents into skilled workers while also attracting outside talent to fill local jobs.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana Senate Democrats are renewing their calls for increasing the state’s minimum wage as typically lower-wage businesses like restaurants say they can’t hire enough workers.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana’s unemployment rate is 3.9 percent for April, remaining unchanged from the month before. The data is preliminary, but may show a slight slowing in economic recovery from the ongoing pandemic.

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