[R53] Bridging the skills gap through remediation (2/11/2013)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Start Date: 2/11/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/11/2013 End Time: 11:59 PM

Over the past few years, Indiana has emerged as one of the most business-friendly states in the country. That however, has not exempted us from the problems associated with a skills gap. In fact, 67% of all manufacturing companies in Indiana have reported a shortage of available, qualified workers. More than half of these companies predict this shortage will grow worse in the next few years.
Because an educated workforce is such an important part of our continued success, the General Assembly has developed numerous bills this session which highlight our commitment to maintaining a quality workforce. Our first step was to develop the Indiana Career Council which aligns the education skills and training provided by Indiana’s educational, job skills and career training systems with the existing and projected needs of the state’s job market.

I believe the passage of House Bill (HB) 1005 is another step in the right direction. HB 1005 deals with the issue of remediation. Unfortunately, many students leave our high schools unprepared for college or the workforce. Forty-six percent of students entering a 2-year college and 12.4 percent of those entering a 4-year college require remediation. These students are much less likely to graduate with a degree or industry certificate. Remedial needs at the post-secondary level also result in additional financial costs to students and in most cases, additional time to complete a degree program.

HB 1005 requires high schools to provide a college and career readiness assessment, paid for by the Department of Education, to students who are on a path that requires remediation. Given at the beginning of their junior year, this assessment would allow time for targeted instruction before the students leaves high school. Possible indicators that this assessment is necessary include failure to pass end of course assessments as well as scores on the PSAT, SAT or ACT.

Currently, students taking dual credit courses do not have to take or pass a test demonstrating proficiency. As a result, some students end up repeating the courses. HB 1005 seeks to improve standards for these courses which count for both high school and college credit. This bill would require a student taking dual credits to receive a C or higher in the course in order to obtain college credit. Students who are on a path which would require remediation and must take a college and career readiness assessment would not be permitted to enroll in dual credits until they receive a passing score on the assessment.

From the statistics above, it is clear that some students are unprepared for life after high school. Our goal in this legislation is to attempt to identify students’ difficulties earlier in the process. I believe that the modifications made by HB 1005 will provide the key to our success as a state by helping to bridge the skills gap. We owe it to the employers who have invested in Indiana and we owe it to our students as well.

What are your thoughts on the issue of remediation? I appreciate hearing your feedback on important issues affecting our state. Feel free to contact me by phone at 317-232-9619 or by email at h53@in.gov.