Job loss is one of the main causes of bankruptcy in Indiana, as I well know from the personal stories I hear in my bankruptcy law offices in Indiana. Last week, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce released a report that reinforced what I know about joblessness and bankruptcy. This report is just statistics now, but it will serve as a blueprint to improve things in the long term in Indiana. The Chamber study found that more than 931,000 adults in Indiana lack the skills, education, and training to succeed in the work force. The lack of education and training is especially serious for in Indiana, because our state is cultivating more high-wage, high tech jobs.

As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana for many, many years, I am keenly interested in news about our state of Indiana, and especially news that deals with my fields of specialty, consumer and small business debt. I knew before reading the study that Indiana ranks low in terms of percentage of adults with college education. The Chamber study confirmed that we are Number 41 compared to other states in the percentage of working-age adults who have at least an associate’s degree. In fact, 12% of working-age adults in Indiana haven’t even completed high school! Needless to say, I see a direct link between these statistics and the number of layoffs that ultimately have people coming to my Indiana bankruptcy law offices for help.

The positive side of this report is the report, strange as that may seem. Indiana is emerging as a national leader in analyzing adult education and workforce skills. And while studies don’t, in and of themselves, create solutions, the Chamber spokesmen explained that a special committee will be using the information to make recommendations to colleges and to businesses. It’s a long-term proposition, to be sure, but better training and education is going to be the key to improvement of the job situation over the long haul.

The other two main causes of bankruptcy, by the way, are medical costs and divorce, subjects for a different day and different reports. While our economic leaders are busy addressing the big issues, I’ll just keep dealing with individuals and their debts, and small businesses and their debts, one at a time.