INDIANAPOLIS – Statehouse Republicans have been talking about workforce development, the skills gap and how they plan to close it for more than a decade. Look at the underlying numbers however, and their policies have made nearly zero progress in increasing educational attainment or Hoosiers’ paychecks.
In ten years, Indiana has barely moved the needle on educational attainment, edging up the number of Hoosiers ages 25 to 64 with an Associate degree or higher from 42nd in 2005 to 40th in 2015. Hoosiers’ incomes have also made little upward progress. Between 2000 and 2016, Hoosiers’ real wages grew by just 0.1 percent.
The scale of these issues demands a larger, more defined action plan. With little progress toward increased educational attainment and stalled wage growth, Governor Holcomb appears to be nibbling along the edges rather than implementing bold policy to meet these challenges.
“Hoosiers are rightfully frustrated. The governor’s agenda is more of the same at a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing working Hoosiers’ paychecks more than ever,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. “How will the governor’s agenda raise Hoosiers’ incomes? How will it expand access to opioid treatment? Talking about reaching the “next level” isn’t enough. Hoosiers want to see a clear, tangible plan to achieve these goals. More of the same isn’t going to cut it.”
Chairman Zody expressed skepticism that freshman Governor Eric Holcomb’s “new” workforce development plan is any different from Statehouse Republicans’ past efforts.
“Statehouse Republicans have been peddling the same empty promises about skilling up the Hoosier workforce for more than a decade, yet their actions prove otherwise” said Zody. “The governor likes to cite rankings. Just look at the numbers, past efforts haven’t made a dent. Hoosier workers just want a shot at gaining the skills to earn bigger paychecks. If past performance is any indicator, Governor Holcomb’s plan won’t be that opportunity any more than past Republican efforts were.”