State leaders are focused on ensuring Indiana has a workforce capable of meeting the state’s job needs for the next few decades. And that conversation increasingly turns to the state’s public schools, tying high school education to workforce development.
When asked whether it’s too much to ask a 14-year-old to decide what they want to do with the rest of their life, Gov. Eric Holcomb is direct.
“No. And by the way, we need to have high expectations for our high school graduates," Holcomb says. "They need to have high expectations. I think with that comes high confidence about what comes next.”
Sue Ellspermann has been involved with workforce development at the state level for a decade, from state legislator and lieutenant governor to now president of Ivy Tech's statewide system. She argues the state won’t ask high schoolers to decide their entire life’s course, but help them think it through earlier.
“To be an engineer, I had to make a decision pretty early in high school to have the right courses that would allow me to become that at the end," Ellspermann says. "So I think that’s not unrealistic.”
2018 workforce development legislation focused in part on improving career counseling in high school.