Congratulating the Class of 2014
I recently read through the 2014 graduation supplements in our local papers, and I was so impressed with how involved and driven this year’s graduating class was. I want to congratulate the seniors in our community and their families for achieving this milestone. My message to them is that education is something no one can take away from you; it is something you will have for the rest of your life.
Many students will be starting new jobs in the coming months while others will be furthering their education. For students heading to college, there are plenty of institutions to choose from in our area. Ivy Tech-Evansville and Vincennes University are both accredited two-year colleges, while the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana are both four-year universities. Western Governors University is an accredited online university that is open to Hoosiers all across our state.
However, college might not be the right path for everyone and some will enter the workforce right out of high school. I am pleased to report that those entering the workforce have great prospects here in Indiana. Over the past year, Indiana’s unemployment rate declined 2.1 percent, which is third largest decrease in the nation. This year, the Legislature passed an initiative to get more Hoosiers back to work. This initiative provides incentives to employers and educational institutions who partner together to create internship opportunities in high wage, high demand jobs.
Sixty-seven percent of manufacturing companies reported moderate to severe shortages of available qualified workers. Jobs are available here, in fact, Indiana led the nation in manufacturing jobs added in the last year, but our workforce continues to lack the skills to fill these available positions. Most of these jobs fall within the categories of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics, referred to as STEM. In our area, we are fortunate to have great training and educational opportunities to equip Hoosiers with the skills they need to succeed in STEM fields today.
Southwest Indiana has many opportunities available in STEM related and other growing industries. I am excited for the class of 2014 to have these opportunities available to them, and I was proud to support these efforts during this past legislative session. Not only will these initiatives get more Hoosiers back to work, including our district’s most recent graduates, but it will help stimulate economic growth in our region and throughout the state.
I want to wish the Class of 2014 from Tell City Junior Senior High School, Spring Valley Community High School, Heritage Hills, Perry Central, Forest Park, Southridge High School, Cannelton High School, Crawford County Junior Senior High School and those in our area’s private schools the best of luck in the next phase of your life. I am confident that whatever path you choose to follow, your educational foundation has set you up for future prosperity.