Employability Skills and Work Ethic Certificate Bill Goes to the Governor

Bill # and Title: SB 297 – Employability Skills Curriculum
Author: Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)
Summary: Provides that, not later than July 1, 2019, each school within a school corporation shall include interdisciplinary employability skills standards established by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), in consultation with the Department of Education and approved by the State Board of Education, in the school’s curriculum. Requires the DWD to administer the program. Expands the Indiana Career Explorer pilot program.
Chamber Position: Support

Update/Chamber Action: Despite attempts by Democrats, all amendments to the bill failed on the House floor and the bill remains clean. It was approved by the full House 97-0. The Senate author concurred on the bill and the Senate concurrence vote was 46-2.

The Chamber is supportive of the creation of employability skills standards. Every day, we hear from employers about the need for student graduates with stronger soft skills, such as communications and critical thinking. In addition, the Chamber is very supportive of the Governor’s successful Work Ethic Certificate program and we welcome it to be codified into law, with the hopes that funding can be secured during the 2019 session (the funding component was removed in committee to keep the bill from being recommitted to House Ways and Means).

A special thank you to Chamber board member Paul Perkins, CEO of Amatrol, for his testimony on this bill throughout the process.

Quick Roundup: High School Diploma and Teacher Licensure Bills

House Bill 1426 (Education Matters), from Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), is the vehicle for the single high school diploma model, which starts at the Core 40 level with an opt-out to the general diploma. The Chamber-supported bill – which also reflects the work of the 2017 Graduation Pathways Taskforce – was recommitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it passed (unamended) by a vote of 13-0. It will now be eligible for second reading amendments and final vote in the Senate next week.

Chamber-supported Senate Bill 387 (Teacher Licensing), authored by Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), includes the supplemental pay language for teachers in high-need areas such as STEM and special education, as well as sets professional requirements for teachers. The legislation was amended and then passed out of the House Education Committee 8-3; it was not amended on second reading and will be eligible for a final vote next week.

Both are important bills to the Chamber and we will be strongly advocating for their passage, which we believe is likely.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: [email protected]