Indiana Chamber Prioritizes STEM, Workforce Development For Legislative Session

Nov 19, 2018

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is prioritizing workforce development and STEM education as part of its 2019 legislative agenda, and supports a key change to the state’s governance structure.

The chamber wants a boost in funding for workforce development initiatives, and will also push for a new STEM-focused course requirement for high schoolers, starting with the class of 2023.

Chamber president and CEO Kevin Brinegar says that could get more students interested in high-demand STEM fields.

“We think that having kids have exposure to these courses, whether it’s computer science or technology courses will help spur interest,” he says.

The group also wants to speed up the timeline for making the state’s schools chief appointed rather than elected. Right now, the state’s top education official is set to become an appointment from the governor starting in 2025.

Brinegar says it will help streamline key policy decisions and implementation.

“People view the governor as really the chief education officer of our state, certainly from a policy perspective, and we just think there would be better alignment,” he says. “That’s been our long-standing position.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick announced earlier this year she won’t seek re-election once her current term ends, triggering conversations about moving the timeline up among state lawmakers. Leaders at the chamber’s preview say it’s likely going to be an easy change to garner support for among members of the General Assembly.