Governor Pence’s opening remarks stated: “I know that, together, we will write the next great chapter of Indiana history”. This resonated with me as I sat amongst my fellow state representatives – both Republicans and Democrats must all work together for the people that call Indiana home.
The governor’s claimed “…the state of our state is strong and growing stronger because we have good government and because we serve a great people.” I could not agree more. Even in these tough economic times, Indiana is thriving as one of nine states with a triple-A credit rating from all three agencies. However, there is always room for improvement.
Today, a quarter of a million Hoosiers are out of work and many of them lack the skills they need to succeed. Indiana is addressing this issue by trying to bridge the skills gap facing many of Indiana’s employers in the technology and manufacturing sectors. We are trying to improve career and technical education in high schools to increase and support dual credit programs. The Legislature is also discussing a bill to create a council that opens the communication channels and reduces the bureaucracy between education and workforce development groups.
Sixty-seven percent of manufacturing companies reported a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers in Indiana. These are high-demand, high-wage jobs that provide a high-quality of living. With unemployment stubbornly hovering around 8 percent, more Hoosiers should be looking to fill these positions.
Closely correlated to jobs is education. I could not agree more with the governor on the subject of strengthening and increasing early childhood education as well. It is my belief that better opportunities come from a better education. Promoting early childhood education and addressing key teacher shortages is exactly what will get Indiana on the right path towards a successful future.
I believe our state has strong family values. And, it is a component of the Hoosier spirit that truly makes us great. One of the last things that Governor Pence concentrated on in his speech was his proposed budget, which offered financial security for future generations.
“I believe the government budget should never grow faster than the family budget,” said Governor Pence. “Our budget is a full percentage point less than inflation. By holding the line on spending, Indiana can continue to stand out as a beacon of fiscal restraint-a state that knows how to fund its priorities in a responsible way.”
With the help of Governor Pence, Indiana is on the right path towards building a more prosperous future for generations to come. We will open doors for education and bring a new, qualified generation into the workforce. Together we can accomplish so much for our great state. To echo the governor’s final words in his address: “Let’s get to work!”