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Workforce Development Bills Significantly Amended Again, Remain a Work in Progress

2018-03-02T13:47:57+00:00 March 2nd, 2018|

Bill # and Title: SB 50 – Workforce Development: Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Author: Sen. Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown)
Summary: Establishes the college and career funding review committee and requires the review committee to study certain issues and to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislative Council. Establishes the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to develop, not later than July 1, 2018, a comprehensive career navigation and coaching system for Indiana. Requires high schools maintained by a school corporation, a charter school or an accredited nonpublic school to participate in the career coaching program. Requires at least 25% of the money appropriated by the General Assembly for adult education or the work Indiana program to be used: (1) to reimburse an eligible provider for adult education that is provided to eligible employees who need education in basic skills or that is necessary for an eligible employee to receive a high school diploma or an Indiana high school equivalency diploma; or (2) for adult education grants to employers. Specifies criteria that an individual must meet to be an eligible employee. Establishes the Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant program and specifies criteria to receive a grant. Provides limits on the grant amount per employee and per employer. Requires the Legislative Services Agency to conduct a review, analysis and evaluation of the 21st Century Scholars program and the Frank O’Bannon grant program and submit a report to the governor and the Legislative Council. Urges the Legislative Council to assign to an appropriate interim study committee the question of whether the state should submit a combined state plan instead of a unified state plan to the United States Department of Labor when the state submits a new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act plan.
Chamber Position: Support in Part/Oppose in Part
Status: Amended in the House Ways and Means Committee and then voted out 18-0. The bill was further amended on the House floor; it’s now eligible for final vote next week before the full House.

Bill # and Title: HB 1002 – Reorganization of Workforce Funding and Programs
Author: Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers)
Summary: Requires an annual workforce related program review by the legislative services agency. Provides that the Governor shall appoint a secretary of workforce training. Establishes the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to develop, not later than July 1, 2018, a comprehensive career navigation and coaching system for Indiana and requires all high schools to participate in the career coaching program. Requires workforce and education information as part of the biennial budget report that is submitted to the Governor and Budget Committee for preparation of the Governor’s proposed budget bill. Repeals the training 2000 program and fund effective July 1, 2019, and provides for the program phaseout. Provides that an emancipated student or the parent of a student enrolled in a career or technical course may voluntarily release information, on a form prescribed by the Department of Education, pertaining to the student’s enrollment in the career and technical education course to potential employers that contact the school to recruit students with particular career and technical skills. Requires the State Board of Education, when establishing an apprenticeship as a graduation pathway requirement, to establish as an apprenticeship program only an apprenticeship program registered under the federal National Apprenticeship Act or another federal apprenticeship program administered by the United States Department of Labor. Revises eligibility criteria for applicants for high value workforce ready credit-bearing grants, and provides that if the demand for high value workforce ready credit-bearing grants exceeds the appropriation, the commission for higher education shall prioritize applicants who are classified as independent. Specifies that an individual who is enrolled as a part-time postsecondary student, regardless of whether a part-time student is qualified to receive an adult student grant, may participate in the Employment Aid Readiness Network (EARN) Indiana program. Transforms Ivy Tech Community College’s regional boards of trustees to campus boards of trustees. Establishes the Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant program. Specifies that certain requirements regarding educational qualifications of nursing faculty members do not apply from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2024. Urges the Legislative Council to assign to a study committee the task of studying statutory and administrative barriers that may create disincentives that keep employers from establishing employer provided child care for their employees. Requires the Family and Social Services Administration and the Indiana Department of Transportation to perform a coordinated study on leveraging money for transportation to workforce-related programs. Makes conforming amendments.
Chamber Position: Support in Part/Oppose in Part
Status: The bill was amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee and voted out 12-1. It will be eligible for second reading amendments and third reading final vote next week.

Update/Chamber Action: Both bills have been significantly amended in ways that we support, but also in ways that give us some concern. We have strong support for the thoughtful and deliberate work on the study by the Legislative Service Agency of all workforce programs. It is extremely thorough and we look forward to the results of each year’s report and presentation. We also support the language regarding the Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant program. The CTE student information portal for local employers is a prime example of a creative model without having to spend extra capital. And we also support expanding the EARN Indiana program to include part-time students.

We hope to continue the conversation on the makeup of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet in conference committee and have some questions as to how this will work in conjunction with the State Workforce Innovation Council (SWIC), a similar existing cabinet that is required to have its membership be 50% employers. We appreciate the language in the bill allowing the Indiana Chamber to be consulted with on a gubernatorial appointment for a business leader to the panel; however, we question why we cannot simply utilize the SWIC. If we are tied to the idea of creating a new cabinet, we feel strongly that we should have more employer voices at the table, plus give the Indiana Chamber a seat as well. The Chamber’s place on the cabinet would provide historical knowledge on workforce issues, representing the voices of thousands of members and investors throughout the state and providing consistency when we have a new Governor who would make the majority of the appointees (be they employers or agency heads).

In close, while these bills are better and moving in the right direction, they still need work. And we look forward to continuing to advocate throughout conference committee.

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