January 8, 2024

Holcomb unveils 2024 agenda focused on education and training, from childhood to beyond high school

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Gov. Eric Holcomb discussed his 2024 agenda in remarks at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Indianapolis on Jan. 8, 2024. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb discussed his 2024 agenda in remarks at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Indianapolis on Jan. 8, 2024.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda for his final year in office is centered on educating and training Hoosiers — from early childhood to beyond high school.

Much of that agenda is focused on child care. It includes lowering the ages at which people can be caregivers — from 21 to 18-years-old for infant and toddler caregivers, and from 18 to 16-years-old for those in school-age classrooms. The governor also wants to streamline regulations and make child care vouchers available to more people working for child care providers.

Holcomb said those initiatives will not sacrifice quality.

“But that we’re making it more accessible, that we’re making it more affordable,” Holcomb said.

K-12 student reading proficiency is a focus for most at the Statehouse this year. Holcomb wants students to begin taking the statewide reading exam, IREAD-3, in second grade, not third. With that, schools would be required to offer summer school reading programs for students not passing the exam.

And beginning after next school year, more students who don’t pass the test in third grade will be held back a year.

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Beyond K-12, Holcomb wants Indiana colleges and universities to begin offering at least one degree program that can be completed in three years, instead of four.

“And that saves money, in the long run,” Holcomb said.

Much of Holcomb’s agenda will require legislation in the 2024 session. But one aspect that doesn’t has already been unveiled.

The state of Indiana launched a new online portal for businesses and individuals to more easily connect with job training resources. Holcomb described it as a “streamlined, concierge service” for existing programs.

It’s called One Stop To Start; a web portal that connects people with everything from financial aid and local apprenticeship opportunities to employer training grants. Holcomb said what distinguishes the new online tool is the personalized service available.

“It’s about the service that you need being navigated with you,” Holcomb said.

That one-on-one service with career navigators is available through the site Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holcomb said the portal is part of a focus in his final year in office of helping ensure Hoosiers know about the resources available to them.

The portal can be found at OneStopToStart.in.gov.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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