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Mega Workforce Bills Still Need Work; High School Diploma Measures Pass

2018-02-09T14:19:43+00:00 February 9th, 2018|

Mega Workforce Development Bills Switch Sides – Still Need Some Work

Bill # and Title: SB 50 – Workforce Development: Career and Technical Education
Author: Sen. Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown)
Summary: Establishes the College and Career Funding Review Committee. Requires the review committee to study certain issues and to submit a report to the Governor and Legislative Council concerning the results of the study. Provides that the Governor shall appoint a secretary of workforce training. Provides that if an employer has entered into an agreement with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for EDGE credits, the IEDC may enter into an additional agreement with the employer to also provide tax credits to individuals who relocate to Indiana to become employed by the employer in a new high demand, unfilled job, if the corporation determines that the jobs are not likely to be filled by current Indiana residents. Establishes a state income tax credit for expenditures and donations made on behalf of an employee or student to meet the requirements for portable workforce credentials that are required or beneficial for targeted employment identified by the Department of Workforce Development. Requires the newly-established Board for Technical Education to identify workforce training programs that are underperforming and request that the budget agency reduce allotments for the program for the state fiscal year and limits the amount of tax credits in that state fiscal year to the amount the allotments are reduced…
Chamber Position: Support in Part/Oppose in Part
Status: Amendments were taken on the Senate floor to take the Real World Workforce language out of the school funding formula and to add business representatives to the Board for Technical Education; subsequently passed the full Senate by a vote of 45-3. It now moves to the House for further consideration

Update/Chamber Action: This is the Senate’s comprehensive workforce development bill this session. The Chamber is very supportive of both the employer training tax credit and the employee relocation tax credit embedded within this legislation as it provides both short-term and long-term solutions to skilling up our incumbent workforce and incentivizing potential out-of-state employees to move to Indiana to work and live. We also support the idea of the career counseling language, as the Chamber Foundation’s study in 2014 identified that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to devote enough time to career counseling. We have some concerns regarding the new board created in the legislation as it is duplicative and unnecessary, but appreciate that employers have a seat and a voice at the table. We look forward to working with the author of the bill as it moves forward.

Bill # and Title: HB 1002 – Reorganization of Workforce Funding and Programs
Author: Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers)
Summary: Repeals various educational and workforce training programs and provides for program phaseouts, effective July 1, 2019 and requires Legislative Services Agency to study the effectiveness of all workforce programs and provide the information to an interim study committee for review. Requires the State Workforce Innovation Council to review each proposed grant award by the Department of Workforce Development before the grant is awarded by the department. Establishes the Next Level Workforce Training and Development fund as a dedicated fund for certain state workforce training and development programs. Dedicates all corporate adjusted gross income tax revenues to the fund. Establishes the employer workforce training grant fund to provide money for grants to eligible employers that incur costs or expenses for training programs that allow their employees or prospective employees in Indiana to attain a work-related degree, certification or credential. Makes a continuous appropriation from the Employer Workforce Training Grant Fund to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Requires the State Board of Education, when establishing an apprenticeship as a graduation pathway requirement, to establish as an apprenticeship only an apprenticeship program registered under the federal National Apprenticeship Act or another federal apprenticeship program administered by the United States Department of Labor. …
Chamber Position: Support in Part
Status: Passed the House 70-24; now moves to the Senate for full consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: Tackling the issue of creating a skilled workforce, without using any additional dollars, is a serious undertaking and requires bold ideas. This legislation provides such out-of-the-box thinking. We support the return on investment reports, the grants, the CTE (career and technical education) student info availability to employers, among many other provisions. We will continue to engage our members for input. Overall, the Chamber applauds the effort in this legislation to make necessary changes to assist in the effort to tackle workforce development.

Both High School Diploma Bills Pass With Much Support

Bill # and Title: HB 1426 – Education Matters
Author: Rep. Bob Behning (R-Plainfield)
Summary: Requires the State Board of Education to establish one Indiana diploma for individuals who successfully complete high school graduation requirements. Provides that each Indiana diploma must include one of the following designations: (1) General designation. (2) Core 40 designation. (3) Core 40 with academic honors designation. (4) Core 40 with technical honors designation. Requires, in adopting Core 40 curriculum models, the State Board to consider math course requirements other than Algebra II. Provides that a nationally recognized college entrance exam shall be administered as part of the statewide assessment program for high school students. Eliminates the requirement of end-of-course assessments to be administered as part of the statewide assessment program.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The House passed the final version 84-5; now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: The Chamber supports a single diploma model, as long as it is rigorous and starts at the Core 40 level with an opt-out to the general diploma. We also strongly support conforming changes to reflect the work of the Graduation Pathways Taskforce recommendation passed by the State Board of Education last fall. (The Chamber was a representative on the Graduation Pathways Taskforce in 2017.) Lastly, we appreciate the General Assembly working with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the state diploma will be compliant with federal regulations while maintaining rigor.

Bill # and Title: SB 177 – Indiana High School Diploma
Author: Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)
Summary: Requires the State Board of Education to establish one Indiana diploma for individuals who successfully complete high school graduation requirements. Provides that an Indiana diploma may include one of the following distinctions: (1) Core 40 distinction. (2) Core 40 academic honors distinction. (3) Core 40 technical honors distinction. The diploma would start at the Core 40 level and have the opportunity for opt-outs for the general diploma. Allows for options to be developed to Algebra 2 requirements.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The bill was not amended in the Senate and passed by a vote of 48-0; now moves to the House for further consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: The bill was significantly amended in committee so that the diploma language mirrors that in HB 1426, but without the graduation pathways component.

The Chamber supports a single diploma model, as long as it is rigorous and starts at the Core 40 level with an opt-out to the general diploma. We support the opportunity for studying alternatives to Algebra 2, but strongly suggest that in return a student must have four years of math to graduate from high school.

Employability Skills and Work Ethic Certificate Gets Unanimous Support

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. Establishes the Work Ethic Certificate program and fund. Requires the DWD to administer the program. Expands the Indiana Career Explorer pilot program.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The bill was not amended on the Senate floor and passed with a final vote of 48-0; now moves to the House for further consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: The Chamber is supportive of the creation of employability skills standards, as we hear from employers every day about the need for student graduates with stronger soft skills. 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.

Supplemental Pay for Teachers Still Alive – Chamber Priority

Bill # and Title: SB 378 – Teacher Content Area Examination Waiver
Author: Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington)
Summary: Provides that the Department of Education may grant an initial practitioner license to an individual who: (1) took the content area examination twice and did not pass; (2) received a score that is not more than one standard error of measure lower than the passing score for the examination; (3) has been hired by a school corporation; and (4) meets certain other requirements. Provides that a school corporation may, for open teaching positions in the school corporation each school year, hire not more than 10% of individuals who meet the requirements to be eligible for an initial practitioner license without passing the content area examination. Requires a school corporation to notify the department if the school corporation hires an individual who is eligible for an initial practitioner license without passing the content area examination. Requires an individual who receives an initial practitioner license without passing the content area examination to participate in and successfully complete the Indiana mentor and assessment program. Establishes requirements for renewal of an initial practitioner license for an individual who did not pass the content area examination. Establishes eligibility requirements for a career specialist permit…
Chamber Position: Support in Part
Status: The bill passed the Senate 35-12 and moves to the House for further consideration.

Update/Chamber Action: The Chamber strongly supports the supplemental pay language, as we feel that we should have the opportunity to pay teachers more in high-need areas such as STEM and special education. We are currently still studying the teacher licensure language as we support those in the workforce with strong content-area specialty to have the opportunity to teach in the classroom. Having limitations on the number of students, as well as qualifications that they come within 10% of passing, helps the issue.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: causlander@indianachamber.com