“It is every parent’s hope that their children will be better off than their own generation. But for the first time in history the majority of Americans believe that the next generation will not enjoy a quality of life better than their parents,” said Speaker Bosma.
“The two most important ways to improve life for the next generation are through the creation of high wage jobs and an education that prepares our young people for the realities of the workforce. The work of the next General Assembly must focus on these critical issues.
“House Republicans have also spearheaded the concept that our state must live within its means. That simple fiscal principal has made our state the envy of the nation. In addition to that cornerstone, we will continue to focus on a bright future focused on job creation and education improvement,” said Speaker Bosma.
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 next step in helping Indiana grow is to focus on educating a workforce that is able to meet the needs of the market,” said Rep. Culver. “We need to ensure that Hoosiers have the qualifications to fill current and future positions. Strengthening partnerships between industries and higher education and supporting dual credit options in high schools are good ideas to consider.”
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
“Tomorrow’s jobs are going to focus on four main areas: science, technology, engineering and math [STEM]. By focusing on these subjects, we can help students prepare to enter these booming professions,” said Rep. Culver. “I am also committed to finding ways to make higher education more affordable and attainable. Getting more Hoosiers back to work with high quality jobs starts with a great education – that’s the key to our state’s prosperity.”
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.