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

Federal unemployment benefit programs, designed to help workers financially survive the pandemic, are now over. While states can use CARES Act money to extend them, Indiana – like most states – has no plans to do so. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Most industries in Indiana have continued to see job recovery in 2021. But, despite a brief recovery, the finance industry has shed thousands of workers since March 2021.

All IN: Unemployment / Rural Vaccinations / Art Fair

Sep 1, 2021
Richard Bell/Unsplash

Today we talk about efforts to get farmers to promote the COVID-19 vaccine in their communities.

We also learn about a new fine arts fair coming to Indianapolis featuring the work of Black artists across the country, and get the latest news around unemployment in the state.

Produced by Micah Yason.


Justin Hicks
Workforce Development Reporter, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Christine Herman
Reporter, Side Effects Public Media and Illinois Public Media

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana’s unemployment rate remained unchanged between June and July, standing at 4.1 percent, but some areas are seeing job recovery faster than others.

File Photo: WFIU/WTIU

Following President Joe Biden’s announcement that nursing home workers will be required to get vaccinated, some fear it will cause staff to leave the already understaffed industry. According to the state's vaccine dashboard, only about half of Indiana’s long-term care workers are currently vaccinated.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

The trend towards youth apprenticeships in Indiana is continuing despite challenges from the pandemic as a program in northern Indiana recently received $500,000 to continue paid career training for high schoolers. 

Screenshot of Indiana General Assembly

Legislators are looking for ways for more out-of-state professional licenses to transfer easily to Indiana. It comes as a variety of industries say they’re having a hard time getting skilled workers to take jobs in the state.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

More than 100 drivers at a Pepsi bottling facility in northwest Indiana have been on strike for over two weeks now, fighting against a proposed increase in health care costs. 

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.