Indiana Chamber Weighs In On Workforce Issues
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar says improving the state’s workforce is Indiana’s biggest area of need. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, Brinegar Wednesday unveiled a report card for the state based on the provisions of the Chamber’s long-term economic development plan:
Indiana Vision 2025, developed by the state Chamber, identifies four core drivers for economic development: an attractive business climate, superior infrastructure, a dynamic and creative culture and outstanding talent. Chamber President Kevin Brinegar says the quality of the state’s workforce will make or break Indiana’s economic success but adds the state lags the nation. He says the Chamber’s goal – which matches that of the state Commission for Higher Education – is for 60 percent of Hoosiers to have some postsecondary credential – whether a degree or certificate – by 2025:
“Whether we’ll get there or not, I’m not sure, but by focusing on that goal we’ll get a lot closer to achieving it than if we just kept lumping on down the road.”
And while Brinegar says the state’s business and regulatory climate is an area of strength, serious concerns remain about the state’s obesity and smoking rates. While the General Assembly passed a limited public smoking ban last year, Brinegar says there’s more work to be done, such as changing a law prohibiting companies from charging smokers more for health insurance than non-smokers:
“Perhaps we need to look at that and say, ‘Okay, you can work here, we’ll provide health insurance, but if you smoke, you’re going to pay a larger share of the total health care bill.”
Brinegar says he’s glad to see much of Indiana Vision 2025 line up with the governor’s Roadmap for Indiana, Mike Pence’s primary campaign and governing document. For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Brandon Smith.