Donnelly: Schools Fueling 'Booming' Tech Sector

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Donnelly met with Launch Fishers members as part of his visit. Donnelly met with Launch Fishers members as part of his visit.
FISHERS -

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) says Indiana's tech sector is reaping the benefits of colleges and universities "starting to engage more and more with the communities." During a visit today to Launch Fishers, Donnelly told Inside INdiana Business there is a growing recognition throughout the country that Indiana's education and business leaders have a "tremendous drive" to upgrade the state's work force. This afternoon, he will discuss innovation and economic development with One Southern Indiana leadership, including Chief Executive Officer Wendy Dant Chesser.

During an interview today with Inside INdiana Business, Donnelly also discussed the recently-signed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, designed to combat Indiana's opioid and heroin epidemics. He says he worked for more than two years with Democrats and Republicans on the measure. The law aims to change prescribing practices to reduce opioid availability and use.

Donnelly says the opioid battle as well as education and training efforts are part of making Indiana an attractive place for talent. He says, while Indiana has a growing reputation as an attractive destination for workers, competition continues to be stiff. Donnelly says that's why he believes Indiana must be a welcoming state, adding "we don't want to throw up barriers to people who are trying to make a decision where they want to spend the rest of their lives."

The South Bend native says Indiana's economy does face global challenges. He has been an outspoken critic of so-called "dumping" tactics involving foreign-made steel by countries such as China, Indiana and South Korea. He says the steel is flooding the American market, calling the issue as serious "as it has ever been" in Indiana. Donnelly has continued his push for lawmakers to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms available to groups such as the U.S. International Trade Commission to fight the practice.

Earlier this week, Donnelly hosted U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson at Naval Support Activity Crane in southwest central Indiana. The two toured the installation and discussed the base's technology and research capabilities.

The senator recently received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise award, recognizing his job creation efforts. In April, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization named Donnelly its Legislator of the Year for 2016.

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