State Rep. Todd Huston authors workforce training bill
By Mark Ambrogi
For State Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers), one of the most important issues facing Indiana is developing a strong, well-trained workforce.
The Indiana House of Representatives voted 95-1 to pass the bill Feb. 27. The bill, which Huston authored, will now head to the Indiana Senate.
“It’s the Governor’s agenda bill, and it’s focused on creating and aligning a better workforce system to prepare employees for the jobs of the future and to make sure employers have the type of workforce they need for job growth and expansion,” Huston said.
The bill would establish the Workforce Ready Grant for high-value certificates from Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University. The bill would cover any remaining costs for a student after state and federal financial aid for the student to receive a certification for skills required in high-demand, high-wage jobs.
“We too often times have employers with one set of needs and a workforce with a different set of skills,” Huston said. “Until we make sure we align those two things we are going to be as frustrated as we are today where we have very good jobs available, typically high wage and high demand jobs, and yet we don’t have a skilled workforce to be able fill those jobs. That’s what we’re trying to do. This bill is going to be the start of what needs to be a much longer process in coming years to make sure we have a more nimble and flexible workforce system all the way across K-12 to college to higher (education) to make sure we’re meeting the needs of employers and giving kids the type of skills they need for those types of jobs.”
Huston said the bill has been a collaborative effort between himself, the Governor’s office and the Senate.
“It’s an important bill to Governor (Eric) Holcomb, and he’s been very engaged in this process because he recognizes as he talks to employers throughout the state the disconnect between people’s skills and employers’ needs,” Huston said.
Huston said if an employee already has some secondary study or training, this measure would assist them in resuming their studies.
Huston expects the Senate will likely vote on the bill at the end of the month.