Senate Bill 420 (Workforce Development), authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond), was amended and passed unanimously by the House Education Committee this week. The amended bill allows for the creation of industry collaboration organizations (ICOs), which would be eligible to receive state grant funds and matching donations from local industry that: 1) strengthen and align career coaching and navigation systems; 2) enhance career-technical education programming; and 3) expand apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities. Approved by the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet with a focus on high-priority job sectors, the ICOs would be composed primarily of representatives from business and industry with additional representation from K-12, higher education and community organizations. In its original form, SB 420 included a tax incentive for employers to form an ICO, but the revised language excludes it and reflects a lack of enthusiasm for new tax credits this session by fiscal leaders in both houses.

House Bill 1002 (Career and Technical Education Matters), authored by Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville), was passed by the Senate on third reading by a vote of 39-9 this week. The measure includes a number of recommendations from the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, including strengthening career-technical education programming for Indiana high school students and increasing the state’s investment in the Next Level Jobs training grants for individuals and employers – both of which have been championed by the Chamber.

House Bill 1404 (School Accountability), authored by Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), was amended and passed by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee this week, 9-1. The Chamber priority bill calls for the inclusion of “postsecondary outcomes” measures in the state’s A-F school accountability system, including student completion of industry-recognized credentials, enrollment in postsecondary education/training programs and enlistment in military service. The legislation also provides local schools greater flexibility in offering work-based learning opportunities and career-and-technical education coursework to satisfy the state’s high school diploma requirements. The amended language adopted by the committee clarifies the process for approving these alternative course offerings and encourages the State Board of Education to establish a benchmark target for the percentage of students who achieve a postsecondary outcome.

Resource: Jason Bearce at (317) 264-6880 or email: jbearce@indianachamber.com