Workforce development bills now law 

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Gov. Mike Pence signed bills Monday that are meant to bolster economic development in Indiana by boosting vocational training in high schools and matching job training to business needs.

One of the bills - Senate Bill 465 - was a key part of Pence's legislative agenda and his campaign for governor last year. It sets up local councils that will evaluate regional job needs and help schools tailor vocational education programs to match them.

"Making career education work and ensuring that every high school student is college or career ready are key factors to moving our state's economy forward," Pence said.

Pence also signed House Bill 1002 - legislation co-authored by House Republican and Democratic leaders - that will coordinate the efforts of a number of existing jobs-related boards and commissions and then focus on matching workers with the jobs skills identified as most in need.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the bill was one of the top priorities of the GOP caucus, which controls the chamber.

"The Indiana Career Council will go a long way to put Indiana workers back on the job and to equip Hoosiers with the skills necessary to meet the changing demands of a 21st century workforce," Bosma said in a statement.

HB 1002 creates the Indiana Career Council, which will oversee a data system to track the effectiveness of the state's educational and workforce programs. The council will also be submitting recommendations to the General Assembly on necessary improvements to Indiana's job skills training system.

Legislative leaders and educators joined Pence in a signing ceremony in the south atrium of the Statehouse.

Lesley Weidenbener is managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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