[r63] Messmer Report: Ensuring Hoosiers can own their American Dream

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Sunday, October 21, 2012

This week Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) along with my colleagues made a major announcement about our plans to help all Hoosiers own their American Dream. While the economy is slowly recovering, many families are still looking to get back to work and continue to cut back on their budgets in order to live within their means. We have three key parts to our plan that will help get Hoosiers back to work, expand education opportunities and financially secure future generations of Hoosiers.

I have often spoken the last 4 years of the need to improve career and technical education in our schools. We have many manufacturers in the state with positions to fill, but no one with the necessary education and certifications to perform the duties. My colleagues and I are going to work to improve this situation by increasing and supporting the dual credit programs in our schools, as well as by strengthening the relationships between industry and higher education leaders. 

Currently, 67 percent of manufacturing companies are reporting a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers. Of those companies, more than half of them anticipate the shortage to grow worse in the next three years. We can address this issue by targeting investments on training programs in our high schools and working together to ensure our future workforce has the necessary skills to be successful.

Next, we want to make sure we have leaders in our classrooms so that our students can be leaders in life. Our efforts to accomplish this goal will include promoting early childhood education, enhancing partnerships between rural schools and educational groups and addressing the teacher shortage in key areas such as math and science. 

In Indiana, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills have stayed in demand even through the economic downturn. In fact, there are 2.4 STEM jobs available for every one unemployed person. I recently discussed programs that Purdue is supporting to help educate some members of our community in STEM fields. I fully support their efforts and will continue to work to expand similar programs in our community and across the state.

Finally, it is our plan to keep our state government’s budget balanced and to continue to live within our means just as Hoosier families are doing. By continuing to eliminate wasteful government spending and making strategic investments and restorations, Indiana will stay strong fiscally. Currently, Indiana is one of nine states that have a triple-A credit rating from all three agencies: Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s. This is very attractive to businesses looking to move to Indiana and helps those who have already headquartered here. It is also one of the reasons we have been ranked as number one in the Midwest and number five in the nation to do business in. 

Our recent efforts over the last two sessions are why we hold those distinctions. These distinctions also help ensure that we can financially secure future generations of Hoosiers, and that they do not inherit a fiscal mess. We will continue to  work together to make sure that future Hoosiers can be proud of how we live within our means and they will better off than we were.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by email at h63@in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9671.