Gregg, Ritz Tout Need for Workforce Readiness Programs

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Monday, September 19, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – Highlighting their commitment to better prepare students for the jobs of the future, today State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor, visited an Indianapolis-area career center that is already leading the way.

“You can’t talk about the economy without talking about our education system – Glenda Ritz and I understand that,” said Gregg who is a former President of Vincennes University. “We will work together to better align Indiana’s k-12, higher education, workforce development and economic development efforts to meet the demands of the high-wage, high-skilled jobs of the future.”

Touring the J. Everett Light Career Center, which serves 12 school corporations in Marion, Boone and Hamilton counties with a variety of career and technical education programs, Ritz and Gregg talked about the need for more CTE (Certified Technical Education) and STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math/ Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Agricultural, Math) programs in Indiana schools.

“I have seen firsthand, both when I taught in Washington Township Schools and during my term as superintendent, how these career programs positively impact our youth,” said Superintendent Ritz. “Not only do these programs give our graduates a better idea of which careers they want to enter, but they give Hoosier businesses a pipeline for talent. Education is not a partisan issue, which is why John Gregg and I are committed to working with both Democrats and Republicans to tie economic strategies to education policies.”

Under Superintendent Ritz’s leadership, the Indiana Department of Education has already enrolled more than 200,000 students in CTE courses and pathways, achieving a 95 percent graduation rate; increased the number of students earning industry-recognized credentials, enrolling more than 8,600 students in dual credit courses which resulted in savings of nearly $4 million for Hoosier families and; delivered CTE professional development to 2,000 teachers and administrators.

Moving forward, Gregg and Ritz want to work to increase career counseling support for students to better prepare them post-secondary education and training. They will also individualize graduation plans and increase access to college and career ready pathways.

In addition, they will work to establish a statewide STEM education strategy by identifying and developing teachers who are highly qualified to teach STEM in K-12 schools; evaluate current programs; provide technical assistance to bring them in line with best practices and; collaborate with industries to create internships. Generating greater awareness of these opportunities amongst school administrators, teachers and families will also be a priority.

Finally, as governor, Gregg will create a pilot program to ensure resources within the Indiana Department of Workforce Development are set aside to help workers attend school for the first time or finish a degree enhancing their skills in high-paying jobs in industries with worker shortages. Areas of workforce shortages will be decided on a regional basis based on findings using industry data and input from employers.

“As I travel the state, talking to CEOs, entrepreneurs and business people, workforce readiness is one of their top concerns. There are good jobs out there, but they have trouble finding the trained talent they need,” added Gregg. “We need our young people going to college, but we also need to realize that it’s an option that may not be right for every person – and providing skills training, credentialing and a pathway into a high-paying job is just as critical.”

“Our goal is to raise the wages of all Hoosiers through education and better career opportunities,” added Ritz. “We can and will do that when we work together, focus on quality programs and get politics out of classroom.”

Gregg and Ritz appeared together three months ago to share their plan for students entering our public school system, talking about the need for universal Pre-K. Both have robust education plans available on their websites at www.glendaritz.com and www.greggforgovernnor.com.