After graduation, students are expecting to enter the workforce. However, they cannot enter the workforce if they do not have the necessary skills to be successful. To address the skills gap, our agenda sets a course for schools and businesses to increase their collaboration and work together through select educational partnerships, which in turn, will also increase the potential earnings of Hoosier workers. About two-thirds of manufacturers in Indiana report a shortage of available, qualified workers. We need to provide the tools for Hoosiers to fill and be successful in these high demand, high wage jobs.
Connecting Crossroads to Communities is another effort to build upon Indiana’s renowned transportation infrastructure. Indiana cannot be known as the “Crossroads of America” without maintaining a good transportation system. More money will be used to address current roads and bridges needs to offset future maintenance expenses. In industries such as tourism, retail sales and agriculture, 1.7 million jobs are dependent on the state’s transportation system and, over $500 billion in goods traveled on Indiana roadways last year alone. Increasing our investment in roads would directly provide jobs through their design, construction and maintenance and would also allow us to realize further economic opportunities.
While many issues will be addressed, we as a legislative body will be looking to trim the size of government and the laws that are on the books. Unnecessary and outdated laws and regulations make government functions inefficient and consumer navigation more difficult. The private sector is always striving to be more efficient, and the public sector can certainly follow that lead – not to mention Washington D.C. Moving forward, we must continue to allow the free market to function, and look for ways to trim the government.
I am eager to address these and other issues this session and believe constructive solutions are to come. As we continue to move Indiana forward while still concentrating on the issues we currently have I keep in mind the overall goal, to make our State the finest state in our country to work, live and raise a family. I hope you are having a nice and warm start to 2014.