INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb on Tuesday delivered his 2018 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly. While continuing his focus on five key pillars, the governor’s remarks highlighted his commitment to developing a skilled, ready workforce and detailed several milestones he expects the state to meet.
“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.”
In his address, Gov. Holcomb outlined the following 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.
Additionally, the governor called for his new Education to Career Pathways Cabinet to develop a framework in 2018 that will drive legislative action and funding decisions in the 2019 budget session. He also called for a high school diploma that is rigorous and flexible enough to prepare all students for their next step after graduation—whether that’s a job, a four-year degree, or something in between.
Beyond workforce, Gov. Holcomb outlined accomplishments and next steps related to each of the five pillars outlined in his 2018 Next Level Agenda, which he designed to address the key challenges facing our state today while positioning Indiana for long-term success and economic growth:
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.
In December, Gov. Holcomb announced that he had identified the foundational element for his five pillars that will be at the heart of all collaboration and discussion this legislative session and throughout his administration: civility.
“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.”
Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court Justices, and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session in the State of the State Address. It provides an opportunity for the governor to report on the status quo of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year, and outline key priorities for the year ahead.