INDIANAPOLIS, IN (STL.News) Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced his 2022 Next Level Agenda, which focuses on strengthening the state’s economy and focusing on areas that support that growth, including workforce training expansion, improving early childhood education efforts, advancing infrastructure projects, and increasing access to public health services.
“The 2022 Next Level Agenda builds a foundation for a healthier state,” Gov. Holcomb said. “These priorities will cultivate a more competitive environment to attract new economic development opportunities, establish better access to public health resources and help connect Hoosiers to better employment and training opportunities. Our efforts will advance Indiana’s reputation as a state Hoosiers want to live, work, play, study and stay.”
The 2022 Next Level Agenda details both legislative and administrative priorities in five categories for the year ahead.
To continue the momentum of a robust economic development environment, the agenda focuses on working with the legislature to eliminate the business personal property tax on new equipment and modernizing the Indiana Economic Development Corporation toolkit to:
- Create a new funding mechanism to more competitively invest in transformational economic development opportunities
- Provide greater flexibility within our existing economic tax credit incentive programs
- Incentivize and attract more remote worker jobs to Indiana.
- Gov. Holcomb will also collaborate with legislative leaders to ensure more than 900,000 Hoosiers receive the upcoming automatic taxpayer refund.
Education, training and workforce development
Gov. Holcomb will focus efforts on strengthening early learning opportunities, concentrating on better preparing students for kindergarten. He will direct the Department of Education (DOE) to establish an Office of Kindergarten Readiness to partner with the early childhood team at the Family and Social Services Administration and a revised Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) to support kindergarten readiness.
DOE also will move forward with the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed, a new school performance dashboard which will focus on how students are building skills for success beyond the classroom.
DOE is also building a new teacher supply-and-demand marketplace that will connect educators with job opportunities in Indiana. Additionally, the state is strengthening its data-driven public workforce system to connect unemployed Hoosiers with employers, jobs and training programs.
Public health and wellness development
Gov. Holcomb is committed to removing the stigma of mental health by creating easier access to people in need of services, building awareness and expanding education and growing the workforce in mental health. The agenda supports the Governor’s Public Health Commission as it develops recommendations to improve public health infrastructure and resources throughout the state.
With the help of legislation, the agenda includes expanding data collection surrounding sudden unexplained infant deaths to understand the root cause which will better support future programming and services. Additionally, it prioritizes creating guidelines for universal lead screening and connecting children with the proper care.
The 2022 Next Level Agenda will assist communities in establishing safeguards to strengthen cybersecurity efforts by developing a grant program that will help local governments develop improvement plans. Gov. Holcomb is committed to overseeing the implementation of the $500 million READI program as the 17 regions begin developing their projects. The agenda calls for continued progress on capital projects that were authorized in the current budget and building better infrastructure to connect communities for future generations by completing roads, trails, broadband and facility projects.
Good government service
The 2022 agenda includes a focus on firefighter safety by establishing a program that collects and properly disposes of PFAS, chemicals found in firefighting foam that can have adverse health effects.
Also, the agenda addresses the regulatory and statutory changes prompted by the third-party review of the state’s law enforcement agencies.
This includes Gov. Holcomb’s commitment to do the following:
- Work with legislative leaders to enhance membership of the Law Enforcement Training Board to include more civilians as well as all satellite academy directors as voting members
- Establish personnel at the Law Enforcement Training Board to expand development and oversight of statewide training and curriculum that includes implicit bias and cultural awareness
- Develop a strategic plan for Indiana State Police to accomplish recruiting and diversity goals
- Modernize state law enforcement information systems to better track and analyze performance metrics