10/08/12 Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by State Rep. Bill Friend (R-Macy), announced the House Republican Agenda Friday which focuses on making Indiana a stronger state for future generations.
“Over the years, my wife and I have worked hard to provide for our children, and they continue to do the same for their families,” said Rep. Friend. “I am pleased that our plan will help to ensure that future generations of Hoosiers have the skill sets and education they need to secure high-quality jobs and that we continue to promote strong fiscal policy.
“I look forward to continue working towards these goals and I know that with the groundwork we have laid over the last few years along with our new plans we can help more Hoosiers own their American Dream.”
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 have focused over the past decade on creating the best environment in the Midwest through policies that encourage and incentivize companies from all over the world to relocate and grow in Indiana,” said Speaker Bosma. “Now it’s time to focus on ensuring we have a workforce that will meet the needs of a globally dynamic marketplace,” said Bosma.
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.
“By focusing on strengthening relationships between industry and higher education leaders, I believe we can equip our students with the skills and education they need to enter the workforce with confidence that they will be successful in their careers,” said Rep. Friend.
“My colleagues and I will work to increase and support dual credit programs, and improve career and technical education in high schools in order to help our students fill the positions that employers need for a skilled workforce.”
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
“It our goal to help students become leaders in life by having strong role models lead classrooms across Indiana,” said Rep. Friend. “We have many excellent teachers in our community; however, like much of the nation, we have a shortage of teachers key areas such science, technology, engineering and math,” said Rep. Friend.
Currently there are nearly two and a half STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in Indiana. 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.
“The positive effects of early childhood education are becoming more and more evident. Most experts would agree that a strong educational foundation at an early age is a key factor in determining whether or not an individual will be successful later in life. Now that we have completed our goal of making kindergarten available to every Hoosier family, it’s time to look at additional opportunities, especially for low income families,” said Bosma.
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.