Governor candidates focus on education, employment

2012-08-23T18:00:00Z 2012-09-22T17:55:41Z Governor candidates focus on education, employmentDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
August 23, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Education and employment were the focus of separate policy proposals announced Thursday by two candidates for Indiana governor, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg.

Speaking at private Marian University, Pence said the state's public universities need to increase the number of students who graduate on time. Less than 30 percent of four-year Indiana college students earn a bachelor's degree in four years. 

"Getting to college isn't good enough. Getting through college is what makes the difference," Pence said.

The Republican congressman said if elected he would use existing state financial aid money to award performance grants to students who graduate in four years and reduce funding to state universities with poor on-time graduation rates.

Pence was vague when asked how his plan would affect nontraditional students and the regional campuses they often attend, such as Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Purdue University Calumet in Hammond and Purdue North Central in Westville.

"We'll take a look at it," he said.

Across town, outside a high-tech office park, Gregg said state government must do more to promote the export of products manufactured in Indiana.

The Democratic former Indiana House speaker called for development of a state export strategy, incentives for Hoosier businesses to sell overseas, partnerships with recent immigrants to connect Indiana companies with their native countries and support for the study of international trade in the state's business schools.

"This should help us create high-skill, high-wage jobs," Gregg said. "It is truly a blueprint for global expansion."

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