INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Wednesday two measures aimed at ensuring Hoosiers have the education, training and skills demanded by employers, both now and in the future.
Senate Enrolled Act 50 establishes the Governor's Workforce Cabinet to conduct regular reviews, analyses and evaluations of all Indiana workforce development programs. It replaces the similarly tasked State Workforce Innovation Council.
The Republican said his 21-member cabinet, led by Holcomb's former Deputy Chief of Staff Danny Lopez, will be less "clunky" than the council, which had more than twice as many members, and "action-oriented."
"This has all the right agency folks at the table that make decisions," Holcomb said. "All the previous approaches were helpful; this is all about taking all that information and putting it into motion."
The governor said in January — when he declared workforce development "the defining issue of the decade" — that he wants to get at least 30,000 of the 475,000 Hoosiers without a high school diploma on track toward earning one by the end of the year.
He also set goals to persuade 25,000 of the 700,000 Hoosiers with some college education but no degree to re-enroll, as well double the number of Hoosiers participating in formal apprenticeship programs to 25,000 by 2019.
"This is an all-hands-on-deck effort," Holcomb said. "This is about giving Hoosiers that better pathway, giving them more options to find and pursue a career that they're passionate about that is fulfilling and lifelong."
In that vein, House Enrolled Act 1002 provides businesses a variety of incentives to offer skills training programs to their employees.
For example, a company that financially assists an adult employee in completing a high school diploma or equivalency diploma can receive up to $500 from the state.
"(We're) really making sure that we put dollars where employers need it, which is in training dollars, letting them train employees and then be rewarded for helping their employees get higher training, get certificates and make them more valuable, not just to the employer, but to the people and the citizens of Indiana," said state Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, the sponsor.
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Beyond the workforce measures, Holcomb also recently signed into law several additional proposals approved by the General Assembly, including:
CBD oil — Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD oil, may immediately be used by any Hoosier for any health condition. After July 1, CBD oil retailers only can sell CBD products that comply with new testing and packaging requirements, including certification that the product is derived from industrial hemp and not marijuana. (Senate Enrolled Act 52)
Computer science — Every public school, including charter schools, must embed computer science training in their kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum, beginning in the 2021-22 school year. In addition, every high school, starting in fall 2021, is required to annually offer a one-semester elective computer science course open to all students. (SEA 172)
School funding — The state budget director is authorized to transfer $25 million from Indiana's tuition reserve account to cover any state school funding shortfalls caused by greater than anticipated public school enrollment in the current academic year, and up to $75 million during the 2018-19 school year. (House Enrolled Act 1001)
School discipline — The state's model plan for improving student behavior must seek to reduce out-of-school suspension and expulsion, as well as limit law enforcement referrals unless a student's arrest is necessary to protect the health or safety of others. (HEA 1421)
Resident tuition — Sailors originally from any state who serve on the new USS Indiana submarine for at least 180 days are entitled to pay in-state tuition at Indiana's public universities if they enroll within one year of receiving an honorable discharge. (HEA 1242)
Obsolete words — The words "herein, hereafter, hereinafter, therein, theretofore, hereunder, hereinunder, heretofore, hereinabove and thereunder" are replaced throughout the Indiana Code with simpler terms. State officeholder duties are revised to eliminate gender-specific pronouns. (HEA 1031)