“I have long believed that parents should be able to choose where their children go to school, regardless of their income.” Pence said. “We must continue to expand educational opportunities, especially for those with the fewest resources.”
Pence was pointing to Bill Beach, owner of New Albany-based Beach Mold and Tool, as one reason to reinvest in vocational training for high school students.
Pence said Beach’s father told him as a teenager that his brother would go to college while he would go to a vocational school since he was good working with his hands. Beach started his company is 1972 and it now has about 600 workers.
The governor called for creating regional councils that would work with businesses and educators to tailor high school vocational programs to available jobs.
“Career and technical education can provide our students with a pathway to success, just as it did for Bill,” Pence said. “It can launch entrepreneurs, give kids a reason to finish high school, and create a well-qualified workforce that will encourage business to build here and grow here.”
Pence said former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and legislative leaders left the state in strong shape and that Indiana stands out “as a beacon of fiscal restraint.”
He also pointed to ongoing challenges, including the state’s 8 percent unemployment rate that has about 250,000 people out of work, and he called the Indiana’s 20 percent poverty rate for children “unacceptable.”
“With so many families and businesses struggling just to get by, we have no choice but to remain bold,” Pence said. “We have to do better.”