Gov. Holcomb focuses on workforce development, education in State of the State address

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb outlined his vision for the coming year in his State of the State address Tuesday night.

He focused on five key pillars designed to address challenges of the state while expressing a commitment to developing a skilled workforce.

In his address, Gov. Holcomb outlined these workforce-related goals:

  • Help at least 25,000 of the 700,000+ Hoosier adults with some college but no degree make the life-changing decision to go back and enroll in post-secondary programs.
  • Help at least 30,000 of the 475,000 Hoosier adults without a high school diploma gain the education and skills they need to get a better job.
  • By 2019, increase the number of work-based learning experiences (internships and apprenticeships) from 12,500 to 25,000—making Indiana a top-five state in this area.
  • By 2020, help at least 1,000 Hoosier adults in our prison system earn certificates and credentials each year, so that they can secure high-demand, high-wage jobs upon release.

“Our greatest challenge is that too many Hoosiers lack the education and skills for the jobs that are here today and being created tomorrow—nearly all of which require a post-secondary education. It’s a challenge faced by every state and a major concern for every business,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This is the issue of the decade, and we don’t have a day to waste.”

He outlined five pillars in his 2018 Next Level Agenda, which he says will address challenges facing the state and position Indiana for long-term success:

  1. Cultivate a strong and diverse economy: Pass legislation this session that will clarify Indiana’s tax law for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to support Indiana’s growing tech industry.
  2. Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure: Open Section 5 of I-69, build capacity to resurface 10,000 lane miles of pavement and repair or replace 1,300 bridges over the next five years, and build a short- and long-term strategy for Indiana’s aging water infrastructure.
  3. Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce: Equip every Hoosier to secure a career that interests them, supports a good life and grows our state’s economy. Ensure Indiana employers have the skilled workforce they need to grow and succeed.
  4. Attack the drug epidemic: Increase the number of opioid treatment locations from 18 to 27 so nearly everyone in the state will be less than an hour’s drive to treatment.
  5. Deliver great government service: Conduct a thorough assessment of Indiana’s Department of Child Services and provide two progress reports to the public and state lawmakers during the legislative session.

Holcomb says civility is the foundational element of the five pillars, and will be at the heart of all collaboration and discussion in his administration.

“We Hoosiers have been blessed with a character that more often than not leads us to solve problems rather than assign blame and to work for a common cause rather than tear each other down,” Governor Holcomb said. “Going forward, I’m going to view civility as the very foundation of everything we do.”

Following the speech, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement, criticizing the governor’s speech:

“After tonight, I can’t blame Hoosiers for feeling left behind. Leaders rise to meet challenges. Governor Holcomb stepped back. He offered few details and a vision that borrows all the wrong ideas that left Hoosier families behind in the first place. Vulnerable children at DCS will have to wait. Working families swamped by the rising cost of living and stagnant wages will have to wait. Hoosiers crushed by the wave of opioid addiction will have to wait. Hoosiers need more than a caretaker, they need a governor with bold ideas who acts with urgency. On the biggest stage, Holcomb failed to share a clear vision for where he wants to take Indiana.”

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