Workforce Development Bills Pass, Despite Concerns From Business Leaders

Mar 15, 2018

Though workforce development was perhaps the highest-priority issue for Gov. Eric Holcomb in this year’s legislative session, some are not sold on the two key pieces of legislation passed by Wednesday night’s deadline.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says he thought this was going to be the year for workforce development, but isn’t sure the laws that passed accomplish much.

“I thought the idea was that we were going to streamline, we were going to make the system more efficient," says Lanane. "But it just seems to me, we have basically just rearrange the furniture on the deck you might say.”

One of the bills sets up a study committee on the state’s workforce climate.

But Indiana Manufacturers Association President and CEO Brian Burton says the state has done enough studies in the past and the need for better worker training is already obvious.

“Our check engine light is on, and not only is it on, its blinking," says Burton. "And you have to act now otherwise Indiana is going to lose investment.”

Lawmakers also sought to ease worry that replacing Indiana’s State Workforce Innovation Council with the governor’s newly-created workforce cabinet would cause the state to lose tens of millions of dollars in grants.

So 11th-hour language inserted into one bill gives Holcomb added leeway to meet federal requirements for who’s on the council, if the state cannot obtain a waiver.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story quoted House Minority Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin). That was incorrect. It's actually Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).