Gov. Eric Holcomb wants to create new levels of bureaucracy to better align workforce needs with education and training. Those new levels would replace failed versions created during the Pence administration.
Holcomb’s initiative follows in the footsteps of several previous governors who’ve tried to match what’s taught in schools and training programs with what employers need at their businesses. Holcomb says the new iteration will be locally-focused, with leaders at the regional, county, and community level driving decision-making.
“Guys like me say ‘We wish Washington, D.C. would let us tend to our own affairs.’ Well, sometimes the locals say that about the state,” Holcomb says.
With that comes a new state government group – the Education to Career Pathway Cabinet. It will be led by Secretary of Career Connections Blair Milo. She says the cabinet’s function will be to facilitate local decision-making.
“Locals really drive the train here and be able to say, ‘This is where we see the gaps existing because of our workforce needs, because of conversations we’re having with our employers,’” Milo says. “And ensuring that the employers are part of all of these conversations from the get-go.”
The cabinet will include leaders from several state agencies and the General Assembly. They will spend the next year helping establish local groups to focus on workforce alignment.
Holcomb says he will empower the new cabinet to shape programming and direct funding across the state.
The totality of Holcomb’s agenda builds on his previously-outlined “five pillars:” economic diversification, infrastructure, workforce alignment, addressing the drug epidemic, and improved government services.
Some of Holcomb’s 2018 initiatives are simply continuations of ongoing efforts. That includes a potential fourth port in southeastern Indiana, more direct flights at regional airports, and increased broadband around the state.
Holcomb’s agenda will also push to provide more access to drug treatment programs across the state and enable health providers to get those struggling with addiction into treatment more quickly.