Indiana falling short on two workforce development goals

Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration is falling short on two of the five goals he set at the beginning of the year to improve Indiana's adult education and workforce skills, records show, but the Republican said he's not dismayed by the results.

Holcomb said he's not disappointed to have fallen short because the state had "set high goals."

About 15,000 adults who began college but never finished had re-enrolled through September, which is short of the governor's goal of getting 25,000 residents to re-enroll, according to the Governor's Workforce Cabinet.

About 26,400 residents had enrolled in adult basic education programs as of Nov. 29 as they were pursuing a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, which is short of the governor's goal of 30,000, according to state records.

"The encouraging part is we are seeing positive, forward movement," Holcomb told The Times of northwest Indiana. "I'd like to do more, so I'm always going to err on setting a higher standard than maintaining the status quo."

Holcomb said his three other goals are nearing fulfillment.

More than 450 Indiana employers are participating in the Employer Training Grant program, exceeding Holcomb's goal of 250 companies, said Danny Lopez, chairman of the Governor's Workforce Cabinet.

Indiana will also likely meet the governor's goal of doubling participation in formal apprenticeship programs to 25,000 by the end of next year, Lopez said.

The governor also said in January that he aimed to see at least 1,000 inmates a year by 2020 complete certificate programs that could help them get jobs after release. Lopez said nearly 1,000 inmates are now being trained in high demand fields such as computer coding and welding.

Holcomb plans to continue efforts to better prepare Indiana residents for jobs. He plans to ask the General Assembly next month to adopt another package of workforce development legislation.

Holcomb said he also plans to seek additional funding and expand eligibility for the state's Workforce Ready Grant, which helps students cover tuition in the manufacturing, business, construction, health sciences, information, technology, transportation and logistics fields.

"We have to keep our foot on the gas, the pedal to the metal, to continue to lead," Holcomb said. "This agenda helps us realize those aspirations."

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