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Featured Podcast

What are your state legislators doing on your behalf? The Indiana House Republicans host a podcast each week to answer this  question and talk about what’s happening in your state government. The podcast features one-on-one interviews with lawmakers who highlight new laws, events and other issues impacting Hoosiers.

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National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, an initiative to increase awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children of all ages in the foster care system.

In Indiana, the demand for adoption is growing. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, there are currently more than 1,500 children up for adoption. The Indiana Adoption Program, also known as the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP), welcomes responsible, caring adults who are ready to give a waiting child a permanent family.

There are many statewide efforts to recognize adoptive families and promote adoption. Indiana courts are celebrating National Adoption Month by allowing photos and video recording in adoption proceedings. Click here for a list of participating counties.

Click here for an interactive map with upcoming adoption awareness events across the state. To learn more about adoption in Indiana and to see the children waiting for a forever family, click here or call 1-888-25ADOPT.

Hiring Our Heroes

Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to thank all of the men and women who have bravely served our country, and Indiana also wants to ensure our veterans feel valued every day.

More than half of the 200,000 service men and women who leave the military each year face a period of unemployment, which is why the state is working to provide them tools to re-enter the workforce. The Next Level Veterans initiative helps pair these veterans with thousands of open jobs in Indiana.

This program unites public and private organizations in order to employ more military personnel leaving service and retain veterans who are already in the state. Having already honed their skills during their time in the military, Next Level Veterans focuses on connecting veterans with high-wage career opportunities.

The Next Level Veterans website provides a one-stop-shop for veterans looking for jobs and training, as well as information on a new veterans-based mortgage program, which helps veterans find affordable housing.

Through the Next Level Veterans initiative, the brave men and women who serve our country will be better connected to employment opportunities upon discharge. For more information, visit www.in.gov/veterans.

Maintaining Indiana’s honestly balanced budget

This election, Hoosier voters will decide through Public Question #1 if the Indiana Constitution should be amended to require the state legislature to enact honestly balanced state budgets.

Under conservative leadership, Indiana has maintained a balanced budget for the last seven years, along with a AAA bond rating from all three major credit agencies. Our state’s fiscal health and top-rated business climate helped lead to a record number of jobs in Indiana and record-low unemployment. Maintaining our strong fiscal health will help ensure this momentum continues.

If adopted, this proposed amendment would add an additional constitutional safeguard to prevent future legislatures from deficit spending gimmicks or passing debt on to our children and grandchildren. It would also specifically require state lawmakers to prioritize pre-funded pensions before making other budgetary decisions. These added protections will not impact pre-funded pensions for firefighters, teachers and police officers, as confirmed by the Indiana Public Retirement System and by the professional organizations that represent teachers and public safety officers.

To read the full question as it will appear on the ballot and the proposed amendment in its entirety, click here. The Indiana Retired Teachers Association also provides facts to correct rumors and misinformation, while the Indiana Public Retirement System has prepared a Q&A that can be found here.

Free FAFSA Application Assistance

All students, regardless of income level, who are planning to attend college must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year. This is the single most important form for helping students receive money to go to college. The FAFSA is required in order for students to be considered for government grants, scholarships and student loans.

The FAFSA must be filed by April 15 for students to be eligible for state financial aid.

To help families navigate the application process, financial aid experts will be providing assistance for college-bound students across Indiana from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 28, during College Goal Sunday. Students who attend could win 1 of 5, $1,000 scholarships. There will be 39 sites statewide – click here for the location nearest you.

Can’t make it to a College Goal Sunday event? Learn tips for filling out the FAFSA form and common mistakes to avoid by clicking here. You can also explore different types of financial aid by clicking here. If you need any assistance submitting the application, call 1-800-4FED-AID.

Internship Application Deadline Approaching

The application deadline for the 2019 Indiana House Republican Internship Program is Oct. 31.

The House Republican Internship Program provides unique opportunities for college students and recent graduates to participate in state government at the Indiana Statehouse while gaining hands-on experience. This paid internship allows interns to immerse themselves in the legislative process by working directly with state representatives and professional staff.

For many students and recent graduates looking to launch their professional careers, internships with the House Republicans are valuable stepping stones. Nearly 95 percent of employers consider a candidate’s professional experience when hiring for full-time positions, so this program is designed to help interns develop real-world work skills and connections.

The spring semester internship is open to college sophomores, juniors and seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates of all majors. Interns receive a bi-weekly compensation of $750 and can earn college credits. This is a full-time position at the Statehouse in Indianapolis for the duration of the 2019 legislative session, which runs January through April.

The House Republican Internship Program is a great opportunity to make valuable connections while building a resume. To learn more about internship opportunities and the application process, watch these informational videos about each position and visit indianahouserepublicans.com/internship.

 

Celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Schools, organizations and individuals across the nation will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31, and encouraging children to stay drug-free.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign, sponsored by the National Family Partnership, began in 1985 in response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena by drug traffickers. Americans of all ages began wearing red ribbons in honor of Camarena and in support of drug awareness.

Today, the Red Ribbon Campaign encourages schools and communities to participate in drug prevention activities. Here are a few ways the campaign suggests celebrating Red Ribbon Week:

  • Find creative ways to communicate the meaning behind this year’s theme, “Life Is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free;”
  • Sign the Red Ribbon Pledge;
  • Use the campaign’s curriculum ideas in classrooms or at home to start a discussion with your children;
  • Enter the Red Ribbon photo contest to win an iPad and $1,000 for your child’s school;
  • Share your support on Facebook or Twitter using #RedRibbonWeek; and
  • Send in your ideas to the 2019 Red Ribbon Theme Contest.

In addition to celebrating Red Ribbon Week, you can help protect children from accidental drug consumption by dropping off unwanted and expired prescription medication on Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Oct. 27.

Click here to find a drop off site near you.

Discover Downtown

Downtown Development Week, Oct. 8-14, celebrates Indiana towns and cities’ commitment to preserving and investing in their communities.

Downtown areas are often prominent employment centers, community gathering places, local business incubators and the historic core of a community. Downtown Development Week is an excellent opportunity to showcase all of the positive activities and investments that are happening in Indiana’s downtowns. To view an interactive map of planned events across the state, click here.

It’s not too late to plan an event, and there is no celebration too big or too small. An easy way to participate in Downtown Development Week is by transforming regular activities like farmers markets into a downtown-themed event. If your community plans to hold an event, be sure to let the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs know by filling out this survey so they can help promote it.

Click here to learn more about Downtown Development Week and events happening throughout Indiana.

 

Prepare for college by filling out FAFSA

Students can prepare for college by defining their goals and interests, understanding the costs, and planning academically and financially.

The first step when applying for college for all students is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is a form that needs to be filed annually to determine financial aid eligibility for students and those planning to attend college. Regardless of income level, every college student should file a FAFSA each year. The deadline for filing for the 2019-2020 academic year is April 15, 2019.

New college students and those returning for the 2019-2020 school year can now fill out the FAFSA form from their smartphones. The My Student Aid app can be used to complete the FAFSA or check federal student aid history. Not only is this convenient, but it is also beneficial to those who may rely on their phones for internet access.

The FAFSA can also be filled out online at www.fafsa.gov. If you need assistance submitting the application, call 1-800-4FED-AID.

There are several types of financial aid available, including help for those serving in the military, tax benefits for education, vouchers for current and former foster care youth, and scholarship and loan repayments through the Department of Health and Human Services. Click here to explore different types of financial aid.

The State of Indiana also offers a variety of student financial aid. To learn more about financial aid opportunities in Indiana, click here.

Get a jumpstart on your future

It’s never too early for high school seniors to begin applying to and preparing for college.

Seventeen Indiana colleges will waive their application fees in recognition of College Application Day on Sept. 28, with 15 additional colleges offering free applications year-round. Fee waivers for those in foster care, 21stCentury Scholars and more are also continuously available. View the full list of participating colleges here.

College Application Day, sponsored in partnership by Learn More Indiana and the national American College Application Campaign, aims to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue education beyond high school.

While applying to college is the first important step, incoming and current college students should also start preparing to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which will open on Oct. 1 for the 2019-2020 academic school year. The annual FAFSA form determines financial aid eligibility for college students or those planning on pursuing a post-secondary education.

When thinking about applications and financing for college, those who want to earn a teaching degree should remember to apply for the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship before the Nov. 30 deadline.

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