The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

May 22, 2013

Report: State is both ‘leader and laggard’

Indiana Chamber says skills gap is real

INDIANAPOLIS — A newly released report card on where Indiana ranks nationally in key economic measures shows the state is both “a leader and a laggard” in areas that signal potential for more prosperity.

The report, released by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, shows that while the state has made progress in creating an attractive business climate, it’s also seen the poverty rate rise significantly compared to other states.

Just more than a decade ago, Indiana had the 12th lowest poverty rate in the nation. By 2005, the state dropped to the 32nd lowest poverty rate. By 2011, about 1 million Hoosiers were living in poverty and only 15 states had a lower poverty rate than Indiana, according to the report.

Kevin Brinegar, the chamber’s executive director, said the change in the poverty rate is directly linked to the lack of skills and education needed to get good-paying jobs.  

“The skills gap in Indiana is real,” Brinegar said. “There are one million Hoosiers who don’t have minimum basic skills to compete effectively in a global economy and we need to address that.”

The report (posted on the chamber’s website, www.indianachamber.com) is part of the chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025, a comprehensive multi-year initiative launched in 2010 to guide the state’s development and the public policy that can impact its economic growth.

Contained in the report are 60 key economic indicators that reflect a decade’s worth of progress or loss in four areas identified in the Indiana Vision 2025 plan as essential to the state’s prosperity: Outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure, and a dynamic and creative culture.

Cam Carter, the chamber’s vice president of economic development said the metrics show a “decidedly mixed bag” for the state. “Indiana is both a leader and a laggard as you look across the totality of the metrics,” Carter said.

On the up side: The state’s business climate is ranked high among all states on such measures as low taxes and regulatory reform.

But the state’s high obesity rate, at 42nd fattest in the nation, and the fact that we’re one of the heaviest smoking states—more than 25 percent of Hoosier adults are smokers — are troublesome because of the high health care costs associated with both problems.  

The report says Indiana has done well over the past decade in boosting the percentage of college graduates with science and technology skills. And it found that the state is closing the education “achievement gap” between affluent and at-risk students in some academic areas.

But Indiana now ranks in the bottom five states for the percent of population with an associate college degree or higher. Only Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and West Virginia ranked lower on that metric.

Brinegar said the state has “the most work to do” on boosting the education and workforce metrics, and predicted it will be difficult work to do.

“It is challenging to move the numbers in an absolute sense. But it is even more challenging to move the rankings in a relative sense, and that’s because other states are not just sitting still,” Brinegar said. “This is darn hard work. But it is incredibly important work.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0731 - St Mary's BTS-SH-1 One principal to guide St. Ambrose, St. Mary's Brad Kluesner will serve a dual role as principal of both St. Ambrose and St. Mary's Catholic schools as 2014-2015 classes get underway today.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police investigate hit-and-run on bicyclist Police are investigating an apparent hit-and-run on a bicyclist this morning.

    July 31, 2014

  • boynton, brandon photo Teen receives funding for business venture Brandon Boynton is moving forward with his business dreams, thanks in part to a local working capital loan and a fundraising campaign.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Briefs: July 31 A compilation of news items of local and statewide interest as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 31 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS- HB0731 - Elwood Band 2 Elwood band plans march to Emerald City

    Like toy soldiers on an imaginary battlefield, members of the Elwood Jr./ Sr. High School marching band stood poised for action, silhouetted against a dying sun Tuesday night.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arrest Log: July 30 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 30, 2014

  • Local briefs: July 30 News items of local and state interest as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • Band Day schedule Four high school bands from Madison County will compete in the Music Travel Consultants Band Day set for Aug. 2 at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair.

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior housing project advances If all the pieces fall into place within the next two weeks, construction on a new senior housing development could begin this fall.

    July 30, 2014

July Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook