INDIANAPOLIS | Republican Gov. Mike Pence on Monday signed two "jobs bills" that create zero jobs for the 276,500 Hoosiers currently looking for work.
While surrounded by children at a Statehouse ceremony, Pence signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 465 and House Enrolled Act 1002, which each create separate committees to review the status of vocational education and recommend improvements.
The first measure establishes regional Works Councils, similar to the existing READY Northwest Indiana program, where business leaders and educators collaborate in matching school curriculum to the training needs of regional employers.
"Using a regional approach helps do that in a way that best meets the needs of our students, our communities and our employers, and it will mean jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers for generations to come," Pence said.
The second law creates the Indiana Career Council, a 15-member statewide panel that will meet monthly to inventory all the state's public and private education and job training programs and devise a plan to match those services with current and future employer needs.
"This concentrated effort to target the state's programs and ensure that Indiana's workforce has the skills and certifications to make our state even more competitive will create jobs," Pence said.
The first-term governor told legislative leaders that "Hoosiers will always be in your debt" for approving the legislation establishing the committees.
In response, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, accidentally thanked "Gov. Daniels," instead of Pence.
House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, who co-sponsored House Bill 1002, said he's proud that jobs will someday come from the new laws, but said there's "more we could do to put people to work right now."
Pelath said expanding Medicaid according to the terms of the Affordable Care Act — which Pence refuses to do — would immediately create 30,000 private-sector jobs, according to the Indiana Hospital Association.
"There's a lot more we could be doing in the short-term," Pelath said.