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Former Governor Mike Pence

Former Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Former Governor Pence > Newsroom > Speeches > Announcement of Center for Education and Career Innovation Announcement of Center for Education and Career Innovation

Governor Michael R. Pence
August 23, 2013

As prepared for delivery:

When I applied for this job, we laid out six specific goals in the Roadmap for Indiana, three of which have to do with education:


These goals are critical, because our future depends on a skilled workforce. Today, one in six people in Indiana lack a high school diploma or equivalency. One in three lack post-secondary skills, which are increasingly in demand. And our state’s unemployment hovers at a stubborn 8%+ while employers tell us good paying jobs are going unfilled.

Last year more than 10,000 of our high school graduates needed remediation when they went to college. And we have a persistent achievement gap that shows we are not serving our most at-risk or underserved students as well as we can.

We understand the problems, and we’re working hard on the solutions.

During this last legislative session we worked with the legislature to put education for ALL Hoosiers first. From kindergarten to college, from traditional students to adults, we improved education in ways that will help the next generation succeed. We gave parents more opportunities to send their children to the school that works best for them. We rewarded high-performing schools and teachers with increased flexibility. We made a significant investment in successful dropout prevention programs to ensure that our kids finish high school. We gave college students new funding options, and made it easier for them to graduate on time.

And we worked together with our partners in the General Assembly to establish the Indiana Career Council and the Indiana Regional Works Councils – to make sure all those in our current and emerging workforce are more prepared than ever to succeed  as we put workforce development at the center of economic development in Indiana. Both of these councils have already fostered new partnerships and increased coordination among state agencies and partners around the state with the voice of industry playing a critical role.

In addition, I’ve made a number of appointments to the State Board of Education, the Commission for Higher Education, among others. These boards and commissions are tasked with making education and workforce policy, and they, too, have their eyes on our Roadmap goals. 

We hired Jackie Dowd as our Special Assistant for Career Innovation and Claire Fiddian-Green as our Special Assistant for Education Innovation, both of whom bring experience and expertise in workforce and education. They have proven that government policies and programs can be client-centered and results-oriented. Already Jackie and Claire are working together to better align secondary and post-secondary education and career and workforce training efforts to help Hoosiers succeed.

And as we began the work of improving education and offering new opportunities to Hoosiers from  kindergarten all the way through retirement, I realized that no one agency has the responsibility for promoting innovation across the entire spectrum of education and career preparation, from the  earliest school days through new training for adults. It became apparent to me that we needed new ways of thinking about how to align all of the partners across the entire spectrum. We needed to implement a strategy that increased collaboration and cooperation. We needed to reflect that relevance, relationships and rigor isn’t limited to the ideal experience our students should have in the classroom—these three Rs should shape a laser-focused vision and strategy of coordinating education and career preparation efforts across partners serving all Hoosiers. We needed one place in our Administration that is strategically and intentionally focused on education innovation and career innovation.

That’s why today we are launching the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

The Center creates a focal point for bringing resources together to make a real change in Indiana.

The Center brings together the State Board of Education, the Education Roundtable and our new Career and Works Councils around a clear vision and strategy. It will work with many valuable partners in state government – including the Indiana Department of Education, Commission for Higher Education, Department of Workforce Development, and the Indiana Charter School Board– as well as industry and other private education partners. The Center will bring more partners to the table to collaborate, so we can more effectively serve students and adult workers.

Everywhere I go, I am asked over and over what we are doing to improve the quality of the workforce. And the fact is, Indiana is doing great things. Indiana has a great reputation for offering school choice through vouchers, for encouraging the implementation and growth of charter schools, for realigning adult education, and for being innovative in other workforce and career & technical education transformation.

But as I pointed out earlier, there’s still work to be done. We have an enormous obligation and responsibility to provide quality education for our kids, all the way through higher education, and to help adults prepare to be successfully in new careers. Now, with this new center, we will be able to align all of our K-12, higher education and workforce development resources and programs to deliver results that matter… for our kids, our adult workforce, our employers, and ultimately, every Hoosier.