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[r29] Column: Legislative Update - Focusing on workforce development
Start Date: 1/29/2014 All Day
End Date: 1/29/2014
Entry Description
Legislative Update: Focusing on workforce development

It has been a busy few weeks at the Statehouse as various deadlines draw near. We are tackling many important issues facing our state and our community, and we are seeing a lot of progress on the legislation addressing these matters.

One such bill is House Bill 1003, which provides grants to school corporations to support partnerships with businesses to train students, better preparing them for the workforce.  Our education system needs to have students learning in the classroom and in the real-world.  Putting in action students’ knowledge from textbooks and curricular activities is critical to having the skills necessary to fill today’s jobs and to meet the demands of the 21st century marketplace. 

In addition to the invaluable skills gained by students who will be participating in these internship and apprenticeship programs, tax incentives will be available for Hoosier businesses that employ students following their graduation. Throughout Indiana and across the nation, businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector and in other industries that need science, technology, engineering and mathematics students, are experiencing a shortage of available, qualified workers and expect that shortage to worsen over the next few years. By encouraging our schools and businesses to develop these partnerships, we can get more people to work, have them be in a better position to succeed and strengthen our economy.

HB 1003 is one of our top priorities this session, but there are also many other bills progressing through the House that would have a significant impact on our state. In addition to the different bills being discussed, House concurrent resolutions are offered at the beginning of each session day to recognize various Hoosiers leaders, state championship athletic programs, acts of courage or distinction by Hoosiers, etc. These people and their families are invited to come to the Statehouse to participate in the day’s session and be recognized by the Legislature.

On Monday, the House passed a resolution honoring those that helped the victims of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Holton, Ind., in March of 2012. The tornadoes destroyed or damaged over 20 homes in the small town, killed two people and injured six. This was truly a tragedy that decimated the small town, but it didn’t extinguish their hope and optimism for the future. They showed their own resolve to overcome the natural disaster, but they were also lifted by the overwhelming support shown from other people and businesses across the state, and in other states, that stepped up to support everyone affected. During times of tremendous adversity, such as this, the true character of Hoosiers is always on display and there for those in need.

Another bill working through the legislative process is HB 1242. This legislation, which was passed out of committee last week and is currently being discussed by the entire chamber, prohibits businesses from discriminating against veterans in regards to their hiring practices. The bill would make it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire a prospective employee because they are either a veteran of the armed forces or a current member of the Indiana National Guard or military reserve. 

These brave men and women have sacrificed so much for our state and our country, and it is important that we have their backs when they return from duty and seek employment. Those who have served offer tremendous value to businesses and many are answering the call to specifically hire veterans. We want to make sure that trend continues and that they have the same opportunities as anyone else to find employment.

These are just a few of the many legislative items currently progressing through the House. It is always great to see how much can be accomplished for the betterment of Hoosiers in just a few short months. I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we continue to build a better future for Indiana.

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: (317) 232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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