Meanwhile, 1 million Hoosiers still lack the skills to compete
INDIANAPOLIS – Freshman Governor Eric Holcomb identified workforce development as his priority this session. If that sounds familiar, it’s because both his predecessors did, too. It won’t be bold new ideas, though. No, Holcomb is leaning heavily on the repackaged policies of the Daniels and Pence administrations. The problem is, for more than a decade, those policies have largely failed to move the needle on Indiana’s workforce crisis, while local elected officials and economic developers work hard to attract and retain jobs.
The Problem: The number of Hoosiers 25-64-year-olds with an associate degree or higher – an indicator of workforce preparedness – ranked 42nd in 2005. After 10 years of Daniels and Pence administrations’ programs and policies to boost the workforce, that rank inched up to 40th in 2015, well behind the national average.
Job skills training programs
2017 Holcomb: Upon announcing the Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grants:
“Together, these programs provide more than $20 million over the next two years for Hoosiers and employers for training and certifications that help Indiana meet current workforce demand.”
2013 Pence: During the governor’s State of State Address:
“In addition, we provide $18 million over two years to ensure that all Hoosier workers have the skills they need to find a job in today’s economy.”
2013 Pence: Upon the signing of the Indiana Career Council initiative:
“This concentrated effort to target the state’s programs and ensure that Indiana’s workforce has the skills and certifications to make our state even more competitive will create jobs,” Pence said.”
2006 Daniels: Announcing Training Acceleration Grant awards:
“The Training Acceleration Grant program is a key tool to ensuring Indiana employers have access to a globally competitive workforce,”…“Through these grants, Hoosier workers receive training that better positions them for higher wages and improves the competitiveness of their employers.”
Aligning education to business needs at a local level
2017 Holcomb: Governor Holcomb outlining his 2018 workforce priorities:
“I will create the Governor’s Education to Career Pathway Cabinet … the cabinet will build the right framework to guide local communities as they develop and implement plans for education and workforce training that make sense for their unique economic and employment needs. These Local Talent Cabinets will consist of educators, business leaders and other stakeholders with roots in their communities.”
2013 Pence: Upon signing the Regional Works Council initiative:
“Using a regional approach helps do that in a way that best meets the needs of our students, our communities and our employers, and it will mean jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers for generations to come,” Pence said.”
2005 Daniels: Announcing Regions Awarded Workforce Development Grants:
“Representatives from business, education, labor, economic and workforce development developed these plans, which will identify and quantify short-term and long-term skills shortages, and create and implement regional solutions. According to the grant proposals, the initial funding awarded to Indiana’s 11 regions will be used to fully integrate regional workforce strategies that leverage the strengths of each area’s strongest industries and meets the needs of the future workforce needs to make Indiana globally competitive.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody questioned the Holcomb administration’s apparent failure to look beyond the policies of previous Republican governors.
“Indiana is facing a workforce crisis. Why would Governor Holcomb turn to policies that, after more than a decade, have left more than a million Hoosiers without the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs?” said Zody. They didn’t work then, why would they work now? Hoosiers – especially those who work in our local communities on workforce issues – are looking for bold solutions, not a reboot of policies that have left Hoosier workers behind. It’s clear our current trajectory won’t put Hoosiers on the fast-track toward bigger paychecks and better skills. We need a new gameplan but Governor Holcomb seems content to rely on the same ideas that have left our workforce well behind the pack.”
INDIANAPOLIS – On Saturday, more than 100 women completed a joint candidate training held in partnership between the Indiana Democratic Party and Emerge America. Women from around the state learned best practices on how to campaign for, and win races for elected office. The one-day boot camp is an event Indiana Democratic Party Executive Director Brittany Solis hopes to hold again soon.
“These women are the future of our Party,” said Solis. “It was inspiring to hear from women with different stories, yet united by a relentless desire to make positive change in their communities. Our aim is to give as many first-time candidates the tools they need to run in 2018 and beyond.”
Emerge America Indiana Class of 2017
INDIANAPOLIS – Freshman Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb whole-heartedly approved of a tax bill that would result in middle-class Hoosier families paying higher taxes while the wealthiest see a significant tax cut and the federal deficit balloons.
Holcomb signed onto a letter from Republican governors backing the McConnell tax bill, legislation that would drastically tilt the tax code in favor of the wealthiest Americans. By 2027, families earning between $40,000 to $50,000 would see their tax bills climb by $5.3 billion, paving the way for a tax cut totaling $5.8 billion for Americans with incomes of $1 million or more. This while adding as much as $1.4 trillion to the federal debt. The Republican Governor’s Association spent over $10 million on the effort to elect Holcomb in 2016.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody questioned Holcomb’s motivation for his unprompted endorsement.
“Hoosiers want a tax code that levels the playing field for small businesses and grows good-paying jobs, not a handout for the well-connected and well-off,” said Zody. “Why is the governor spiking the football on a bill that favors lobbyists and the wealthy over everyday Hoosiers? Working Hoosiers are frustrated that their government isn’t working for them. Governor Holcomb’s endorsement of this middle-class tax hike is proving that frustration warranted.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Freshman Governor Eric Holcomb has made fighting the opioid crisis a top priority…for the 2019 legislative session. The governor is refusing to provide additional resources this year, subscribing to Statehouse lore that lawmakers skip budget issues during short legislative sessions. Meanwhile, the crisis is ballooning out of control and Holcomb’s own drug czar says the skimpy $5 million the state spends annually isn’t enough.
The Indianapolis Star Indiana likely won’t put more money toward fighting opioid epidemic next year
“Sen. Jim Merritt, who was responsible for much of the opioid legislation last legislative session, and Holcomb’s appointed drug czar, Jim McClelland, say $5 million a year just isn’t enough.
It’s still not enough in many advocates’ eyes.
“It’s frustrating that we’re still talking and still deciding and not doing,” said Justin Phillips, founder of Overdose Lifeline, which provides prevention tools, distributes Naloxone and offers support during recovery. “People are dying.”
“We have a $250 million problem in the state … $10 million just scratches the surface,” Merritt said. “We got caught unaware, and we’re losing right now…”
For comparison, lawmakers earmarked $15 million annually to the Business Promotion and Innovation Fund. This while business leaders describe a job market where finding an employee who can pass a drug screen as a major issue.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody questioned the governor’s decision.
“Hoosiers are suffering. We need to mobilize resources right now, not when it’s convenient for the governor,” said Zody. “Senator Merritt is right, we’re losing. The governor’s own drug czar says we aren’t doing enough. Will the governor admit holding off until next year was a mistake and make additional resources available to turn back this crisis right now?”