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Manufacturers Redouble Workforce Reform Goals For 2018 Legislature

Indiana Manufacturers Association president Brian Burton laid out the industry's 2018 legislative priorities alongside Hoosier factory executives at the Statehouse Thursday.

Indiana manufacturers hope the 2018 legislative session will hone in on workforce and education reforms to help fill jobs.

The state’s top business sector wants lawmakers to realign $1 billion in existing workforce spending and create incentives to attract new workers.

Flanked Thursday on the steps of the Statehouse by a crowd of factory executives, Indiana Manufacturers Association president Brian Burton says the workforce reforms of the 2017 session won’t be enough to fix the industry’s labor gap.

“We expect that we will not be able to fill 60 percent of the open positions that will occur over the next decade,” he says.

That’s due to low unemployment, stagnant population growth and increasing, unmet skill requirements, as more baby boomers retire.

Burton says the state needs to give employers more control of money spent on that issue by, for example, moving more funds into new grants for employers to train workers.

He says the industry is also talking directly with schools and parents about why kids should go into manufacturing. They want curriculum reform to back that up.

And while the state has focused on attracting new companies, Burton says factories want to bring in workers. They plan to ask lawmakers next session to create an income tax break for people who move to Indiana for a new job.

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