Behning: Setting Hoosier students up for success

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Friday, March 8, 2019 11:09 am

As more businesses choose to set up shop in Indiana and offer high-paying jobs, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure Hoosier students graduate with the skills and experience necessary to enter the workforce. By 2021, it is estimated that our state will need to fill 1 million jobs. In order to prepare for these jobs, students must complete their high school education with the necessary skills and knowledge to obtain a job.

Over the last few years, I have been meeting with organizations, like the Horizon Education Alliance in Elkhart, that work to connect employers with local schools. Through these community partnerships, young Hoosiers explore career opportunities and learn valuable skills while still in high school. For example, students in Elkhart County are exposed to the manufacturing industry by working with local businesses through work-based learning programs. This session, I am supporting legislation that would establish the Career Coaching Grant Program, which would give schools more flexibility to partner with local employers so students can gain more experience through work-based learning opportunities.

This legislation would also prioritize career and technical education courses. These class options allow students to focus on their own unique strengths while giving them opportunities to develop skills through real-world experiences. While some schools already offer a few innovative CTE courses, there are usually not enough for students to earn a certificate or credential to help get a job. Offering more CTE options would give Hoosier students a greater chance for success in a rapidly growing job market.

To help encourage more personalized learning, I championed legislation last year to eliminate our one-size-fits-all graduation and diploma systems. Now, with new graduation pathways, students can tailor their learning through relevant courses matching their strengths and interests to their academic and career goals. Adding this flexibility and encouraging employer-school partnerships would allow students the opportunity to graduate high school and hit the ground running 

Strengthening our commitment to education continues to be a priority for the General Assembly. As chair of the House Education Committee, I am committed to ensuring every kid has a chance to explore career options. Young Hoosiers are our future workforce, and we must provide them opportunities for success now if we hope to continue growing and strengthening Indiana’s workforce for years to come. To share input or ask questions, please email me at h91@iga.in.gov or call 317-232-9648. 

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,

which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.