Skills Gap Bill Moves to Senate

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A bill designed to better connect students and employers in high-demand fields has been approved by the Indiana House. The legislation would provide incentives to businesses and schools for training, internship and certification initiatives. The bill now heads to the Senate. You can view House Bill 1003 by clicking here.

January 29, 2014

News Release

STATEHOUSE - At the start of the 2014 session, Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by State Representatives Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) and Kathy Heuer (R-Columbia City), as well as other House Republicans, unveiled the Working on Progress legislative agenda, focusing on priorities like education and workforce development. Rep. Braun authored House Bill (HB) 1003, with the support of co-author Rep. Heuer, which addresses the Hoosier workforce and the skills gap. The bill passed out of the House on 3rd reading today with a vote of 89-6.

"Our state has received national recognition as a leader in job creation and business-friendly policies," said Rep. Braun. "However, too many jobs are going unfilled because Hoosiers don’t have the specific skill sets to fill the void in booming industries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Economic experts and site selectors agree that the quality of the workforce is a top factor that determines where a business will locate or expand, and this legislation will help create more opportunities for students and employers."

HB 1003 addresses both present and future impediments facing workforce development in Indiana. This will be accomplished in three steps:

-Strengthening training of current unemployed Hoosiers i.e. existing workforce

-Investing in our future workforce by providing the skills today for the jobs of tomorrow

-Enhancing both the present and future workforce by creating a data capability

Specifically, this legislation will allow the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to utilize the Training 2020 Fund to allow grants to schools that choose to develop and implement partnerships with businesses. Schools, in conjunction with private sector businesses, will offer internships and apprenticeships to put students to the test in real-world experiences. The IEDC will work with the Indiana Works Councils to develop the application and eligibility requirements for these grants.

In addition, the IEDC will be able to award an Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit to businesses that hire students who have gone through this cooperative program between the business and college/university.

"This bill will allow for collaboration between schools and businesses in a way which allows students to gain dual credit while also getting paid," said Rep. Heuer. "I hope to establish more pathways for students earlier in their educational pursuits. Not only will students obtain quality work experience but they will have a chance to build and maintain a mentorship with a professional in their chosen field."

Inspired by the six week summer internship program between Central Noble High School and DECO Group, this bill will introduce students to the advanced manufacturing field in a career-based atmosphere on a step by step basis. The intent of this bill is to allow students who are interested in this high performance and high demand profession to gain experience and even certification by the time they have graduated high school, while also alleviating the gap between student and worker.

This legislation would also repurpose the current Indiana Workforce Intelligence System (IWIS) to the Indiana Network of Knowledge (INK) to reflect its more strategic position. This system will provide a framework for accountability and governance that will ensure the safety of this data even as administrations, agency heads and other key staff members change.

House Bill 1003 will now be considered by the Senate.

Sources: The Indiana House of Representatives Republican Caucus, Indiana General Assembly