Chamber Agenda Sharpens Workforce Focus

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Auslander says the state's workforce plan needs to be "better aligned to high-demand, high-wage jobs." Auslander says the state's workforce plan needs to be "better aligned to high-demand, high-wage jobs."

Workforce issues again are among the top issues for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce heading into the new legislative session. The chamber's priorities, announced at today's annual Legislative Preview, include requiring computer science for high school graduation and better aligning the state's education and workforce programs. Vice President for Education, Workforce Development & Federal Affairs Caryl Auslander says the business community needs to have a bigger voice in workforce development strategy.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Auslander said the state's workforce plan needs to be "better aligned to high-demand, high-wage jobs." Governor Eric Holcomb has also called on the state to have all schools offer computer science courses by 2021. Auslander says the move would create a stronger pipeline for higher-wage jobs that "too often are going unfilled."

Other priorities for the Chamber include:

  • Clarifying software-as-a-service tax exempt status for software and cloud-based businesses
  • Maintaining or enhancing an attractive tax climate, including reducing government reliance on business personal property tax
  • Increased transparency in asbestos trust claims
  • Raising the legal age to buy and smoke cigarettes from 18 to 21, and removing the state's special protections for smokers
  • Increasing water resource management and developing a statewide water policy
  • Reforming township government; specifically looking at township mergers in low-population areas
  • Establishing a state work share program, which the Chamber says will help employers maintain a skilled workforce during temporary downturns

The Chamber also announced its 2017 Legislative Champions:

  • Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-27)
  • Rep. Cindy Kirchhoffer (R-89)
  • Rep. Karlee Macer (D-92)
  • Rep. Justin Moed (D-97)
  • Rep. David Ober (R-82)
  • Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-78)
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