Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly is introducing a bill that would change federal funding formulas to put more pressure on colleges to fund programs which train workers for those jobs with the most vacancies.
Donnelly introduced similar legislation during his time in the House, but it died in the Senate. In the first of a six-year term, the freshman senator says he hopes the time is right to nudge both universities and lawmakers to change their priorities.
“I think this is not an election year, and so that really helps, people focus on just the merits of the bill, as opposed to any political implications of it,” he says.
Donnelly pointed to Thyssen-Krupp’s relationship with Terre Haute as an example of why the U.S. needs to focus on technical education. He says there are several engineering schools in the area and that has attracted companies such as Thyssen-Krupp.
“What we wanna do is see everybody have a skill, that makes them special, that makes them desirable by employers, so that when you are talking to people at different companies, and they look and they go, what do you bring to the table?” he says.
Indiana lawmakers have proposed similar initiatives, with House Speaker Brian Bosma pointing to numbers showing there are more than twice as many unfilled jobs in Indiana as there are unemployed Hoosiers without skills to fill them.