STATEHOUSE- Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by a dozen of his House Republican colleagues, announced the House Republican Agenda today which focuses on making Indiana a stronger state for future generations. State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) is pleased to support this announcement.
“As parents, I know that both my wife and I have worked hard to support our family and ensure they have a bright future,” said Rep. Soliday. “I strongly believe in the American Dream and know that if we can equip future generations of Hoosiers with a strong education and leave behind a solid fiscal state, they will benefit greatly from it.
“We have laid the groundwork over the last several years to create an environment that attracts employers with high-quality jobs, and my colleagues and I will continue to make that a top priority so we can help Hoosiers get back to work. This has made Indiana number one in the Midwest and number five in the nation to do business in, which is no small feat. We are leading the pack and will continue to be able by focusing on our goals.”
The House Republicans’ “Own Your American Dream” plan focuses on three key concepts.
Financial Security for Future Generations
“Addressing jobs or education matters little if we fail to continue our strong record of demanding balanced budgets that forces our state government to live within its means. Our fiscal integrity provides an economic climate that spurs job creation. Hoosier taxpayers deserve nothing less, and our job creation environment will continue to benefit,” said Bosma.
Indiana is one of only nine states that has a triple-A credit rating from all three credit agencies. Indiana holds a higher credit rating than the federal government, whose debt has now passed the $16 trillion mark for the first time in our nation’s history. That equates to more than $50,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
Bridging the Skills Gap
According to the Indiana Vision 2025 report published by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, more than 930,000 Hoosiers lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy.
“We have focused over the past decade on creating the best environment in the Midwest through policies that encourage and incentivize companies from all over the world to relocate and grow in Indiana,” said Speaker Bosma. “Now it’s time to focus on ensuring we have a workforce that will meet the needs of a globally dynamic marketplace,” said Bosma.
By 2018, it is estimated that 55 percent of Indiana’s jobs will require some postsecondary education, but only 33 percent of our current working age Hoosiers have an associate’s degree or higher.
“The plans laid out by my colleagues and I will help ensure our students are well prepared for the workforce,” said Rep. Soliday. “We will focus on improving career and technical education in our high schools, increasing and supporting dual credit programs, as well as strengthening the partnerships between industry and higher education leaders in our communities and across the state.”
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
“We have top-notch teachers in our community and I applaud them for their work,” said Rep. Soliday. “I know that throughout the nation though there is a lack of educators with training in key areas such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We will continue to find ways to support the education of our current and future teachers in these areas so that our students do not lack the knowledge they need to be successful in a global economy.”
Currently there are nearly two and a half STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in Indiana. Despite the economic downturn, these jobs have remained in demand, and will only increase as technology marches on.
At the opposite end of the education spectrum, House Republicans also intend to promote early learning opportunities for young Hoosiers.
“The positive effects of early childhood education are becoming more and more evident. Most experts would agree that a strong educational foundation at an early age is a key factor in determining whether or not an individual will be successful later in life. Now that we have completed our goal of making kindergarten available to every Hoosier family, it’s time to look at additional opportunities, especially for low income families,” said Bosma.
In Indiana, 61 percent of children (ages 3-4) are not enrolled in a preschool program. Only six states have a higher percentage of children not attending a preschool.
“We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go to reach these critical goals. We won’t be a state that passes problems on to future generations to handle. Through continued fiscal integrity, quality jobs, and strong education opportunities the American Dream can be a reality for future generations of Hoosiers,” said Speaker Bosma.