Indiana’s workforce crisis is an education crisis

Years of INGOP under-investment in education aren’t helping IN’s workforce

INDIANAPOLIS – A skilled workforce is the product of a robust education system. In the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Vision2025 report, they make the case in unequivocal terms: “Few items in this plan are beyond debate, but the need to invest in our people for their own well-being, as well as the state’s future economic prosperity, is a given.” But Indiana Republicans have demonstrated a clear pattern of chronic under-investment in education. Those deferments will worsen the state’s workforce development crisis. A crisis of alarming scale, according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce: “nearly a third of our entire workforce – lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy.”

Critical education funding lags

Statehouse Republicans invested less per pupil in 2017 than in 2009, adjusted for inflation according to a funding comparison from the Indiana University Center on Evaluation and Education Policy.

More than 70 percent of Indiana’s counties have seen zero pre-K investment from the state.

In nine Indiana counties, there are zero high-quality pre-K programs according to a report.

In a recent report, Indiana ranked second to last in access to quality preschool.

 

When funding is tight and opportunity is unevenly distributed, Indiana Republicans have opened the spigot and pumped hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into their controversial for-profit and private school voucher program. Last year, the program consumed more than $140 million – 7 times more funding than Republicans allocated to the On-My-Way Preschool program. At the same time, controversial tax cuts enacted by Statehouse Republicans are draining tens of millions of dollars annually in lost revenue with little to show in wage growth.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody explained that Statehouse Republicans puzzled by Indiana’s under-skilled workforce need only to review their divisive education policies to determine a culprit.“Indiana’s workforce crisis is an education crisis,” said Zody. “It’s not rocket science. Less funding to schools leads to an unequal distribution of opportunity and keeps Indiana’s workforce ranked near the bottom nationally. You can’t learn about science, technology, engineering or math when your school is closed. The deck is stacked against Hoosier children not lucky enough to live in a county where pre-K is an option. Indiana Republicans’ divisive education policies haven’t helped stem the tide of Indiana’s workforce crisis, in fact they’ve fueled it.”

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