STATEHOUSE- Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by a dozen of his House Republican colleagues, announced the House Republican Agenda today which focuses on making Indiana a stronger state for future generations.
“It is every parent’s hope that their children will be better off than their own generation. But for the first time in history the majority of Americans believe that the next generation will not enjoy a quality of life better than their parents,” said Speaker Bosma.
“The two most important ways to improve life for the next generation are through the creation of high wage jobs and an education that prepares our young people for the realities of the workforce. The work of the next General Assembly must focus on these critical issues.
“House Republicans have also spearheaded the concept that our state must live within its means. That simple fiscal principal has made our state the envy of the nation. In addition to that cornerstone, we will continue to focus on a bright future focused on job creation and education improvement,” said Speaker Bosma.
The House Republicans’ “Own Your American Dream” plan focuses on three key concepts.
Financial Security for Future Generations
“Addressing jobs or education matters little if we fail to continue our strong record of demanding balanced budgets that forces our state government to live within its means. Our fiscal integrity provides an economic climate that spurs job creation. Hoosier taxpayers deserve nothing less, and our job creation environment will continue to benefit,” said Bosma.
Indiana is one of only nine states that has a triple-A credit rating from all three credit agencies. Indiana holds a higher credit rating than the federal government, whose debt has now passed the $16 trillion mark for the first time in our nation’s history. That equates to more than $50,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
Bridging the Skills Gap
According to the Indiana Vision 2025 report published by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, more than 930,000 Hoosiers lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy.
“We are striving to equip Hoosiers with the education skills they need to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market,” said Rep. Ubelhor. “With all the jobs being created for Hoosiers, we have to have an educated workforce to match it. It is crucial to make education a top priority, as it is truly the foundation for a successful economy.”
By 2018, it is estimated that 55 percent of Indiana’s jobs will require some postsecondary education, but only 33 percent of our current working age Hoosiers have an associate’s degree or higher.
“We plan to turn our attention to improving career and technical education in High School, increasing and supporting dual credit programs, targeting investment on training programs with high potential and strengthening partnerships between industry and higher education,” said Speaker Bosma.
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
“Excellent teachers are one central key to success for young Hoosiers. We need to continue to look for ways to provide additional support to classroom teachers and ensure we have a strong pipeline to get teachers in hard to fill areas, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM],” said Speaker Bosma.
Currently there are nearly two and a half STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in Indiana. Martin County in southern Indiana has the 4th highest concentration of STEM jobs in the nation, and despite the economic downturn, these jobs have remained in demand, and will only increase as technology marches on.
At the opposite end of the education spectrum, House Republicans also intend to promote early learning opportunities for young Hoosiers.
“While a lot of progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Rep. Ubelhor. “We will continue to strive toward the best business climate in the country, and that has to start with the foundation of a good education. It is crucial for us to continue focusing on early childhood education. We are working to make pre-school more easily accessible to low-income families.”
In Indiana, 61 percent of children (ages 3-4) are not enrolled in a preschool program. Only six states have a higher percentage of children not attending a preschool.
“We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go to reach these critical goals. We won’t be a state that passes problems on to future generations to handle. Through continued fiscal integrity, quality jobs, and strong education opportunities the American Dream can be a reality for future generations of Hoosiers,” said Speaker Bosma.