Holcomb’s 2024 agenda includes building awareness of state programs

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Gov. Eric Holcomb sat down with IBJ in December 2022 to discuss the economy, his priorities for the upcoming legislative session and what he wants to accomplish during his last two years in office (Eric Learned/IBJ photo).

At the top of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda for his eighth and final year in office is making local elected officials, not-for-profits and other community stakeholders aware of state programs that have been created or expanded during his administration.

That includes everything from apprenticeships and manufacturing readiness grants—which help Indiana companies invest in new technologies—to early learning programs and public health initiatives, Holcomb said.

“What I have come to subscribe to is that most people just don’t know,” Holcomb told IBJ in a recent interview. “People that do this for a living—philanthropies, foundations, local governments, trustees—they are drowning in a sea of acronyms or programs.”

Holcomb plans to reveal more details about the marketing effort and other priorities on his legislative agenda on Jan. 8, one day before members of the Indiana General Assembly return to the Statehouse to resume their work.

In the 2023 session, expanding public health funding rose to the top of Holcomb’s agenda after a report from the Governor’s Public Health Commission showed that Indiana lagged in public health spending when compared to the national average.

And while Republican legislators only directed about two-thirds of the money that Holcomb sought for the expansion, he’s still proud of the results. Of the state’s 92 counties, 85 of them chose to opt into the program.

As with other programs, the next step is ensuring that the expansion yields results down the road by tracking its progress, he said.

“That program will be built in the same way, so that people can look and go, ‘This is working, this is not,'” he said.

Republican leaders in the Legislature have said their priorities next year include expanding work-based learning experiences that were created as part of House Bill 1002, a sweeping 2023 education measure that created a career scholarship account program, allowing students to receive up to $5,000 toward technical coursework and credentials based on their career aspirations and interests.

Lawmakers are also looking to address literacy issues after Indiana’s 2023 IREAD-3 results showed that nearly one in five students—close to 14,000 pupils—is unable to read proficiently by third grade.

Legislators also hope to address truancy. An October report from the Indiana Department of Education found that about 20% of students are defined as chronically absent—missing 18 or more days in a school year.

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6 thoughts on “Holcomb’s 2024 agenda includes building awareness of state programs

  1. Holcomb’s biggest “fail” was his lack of interest or action in embracing and getting Universal Pre-K education established in Indiana.

    The evidence is clear that no other education initiative does as move to improve learning, social skills, and education outcomes than education that begins even before the kindergarten years.

    Holcomb’s legacy as one of the state’s most innovative governor’s could have been assured with this issue. Instead, he will go down in history as just another mediocre governor that never challenged the status quo.

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