What kind of skills sets and where could I go or who would I get involved with to build these skills sets?
Every other skill involved in making a game is more valuable than being a designer when it comes to getting a job.
Designer's Notebook: How to Get Started in the Game Industry: Part I by Ernest Adams
Designer's Notebook: How to Get Started in the Game Industry: Part II by Ernest Adams
Classic Gamasutra articles^
Other tips in no particular order; read Gamasutra a few times a week (articles, blogs, and jobs board), look at major storefronts every day (steam, app store, google play), follow devs on twitter (and read the smart one's blogs, cliffski's
and dan cook's
are really good), read articles that get retweeted (don't treat kotaku or news outlets as good barometers of anything)
Further, you live in an age in which everything you need to create and publish a game is entirely (or very nearly) free. The internet probably has a youtube video telling how to do any step you don't know how to do (if you can't just buy it from the asset store).