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.
Indiana offers a unique opportunity to help income-eligible Hoosiers afford a higher education. Those who sign up for the 21st Century Scholars program while in 7th or 8th grade can receive a scholarship for up to four years covering all tuition costs at Indiana colleges and universities.
The June 30 deadline for eighth-grade students to enroll in the program is quickly approaching, so sign up today and join the more than 36,000 fellow Hoosiers who earned a college degree with the help of a 21st Century Scholarship.
Not only do scholars have 100% of all tuition costs covered, they receive guidance and support so they can succeed in high school and college. To be eligible, students have to maintain their Scholar Pledge for excellence in school and life.
For many young Hoosiers, this program makes college attainable and more affordable. Don’t let the June 30 deadline pass! Enroll your student in the 21st Century Scholarship program today at scholars.in.gov/enroll.
Safety precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 are limiting how some businesses operate with customers face-to-face, including our Indiana farmers and producers. There are multiple online resources making it easier to shop for homegrown food and handmade products.
Indiana Grown is a network of local farmers and producers helping connect consumers to Indiana products. Hoosiers can find locally grown products in their nearby grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets, convenience marts, wineries, breweries and more – just look for the Indiana Grown logo. An online directory features hundreds of farmers, businesses, artisans, grocers, restaurants and more listed by county that sell Indiana products. There is also a statewide map to find nearby farmers markets. Interested Hoosier food producers and crafters can also register to become an Indiana Grown member and benefit from the free program and marketing opportunities.
Indiana-based Market Wagon is an online delivery service where shoppers connect with local food vendors and artisans, and purchases can be delivered directly to homes or a specified Market Host. It also offers delivery networks serving every part of the state and is continually adding merchants. No membership or minimum purchase is required.
LocalFarmMarkets.org is another source for finding local food producers broken down by region and county. Shoppers can filter markets and products that are organic or sustainably grown produce.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to support Hoosier vendors by shopping locally. These online resources make it easy to find and buy food and products made right here in Indiana.
Indiana is moving to stage 4 of its “Back On Track” plan while getting recognized as one of the best states in the country to do business.
Chief Executive Magazine recently ranked Indiana fifth in the nation for doing business, while highlighting the state’s low taxes, investment and commitment to growing the workforce, and focus on innovation and tech. All reasons the Hoosier State stands out as an economic leader.
As we enter stage 4 and continue getting back on track, social gatherings of up to 250 people may take place following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines. Much of Indiana’s tourism sector can reopen at 50% capacity, including cultural and entertainment venues like museums, zoos and aquariums. VisitIndiana.com recommends consulting with the websites of particular events and attractions for up-to-date information.
In this stage, staff in professional office buildings may resume work at full capacity, as well as retail stores and malls. Dining room services may now operate at 75% capacity, with movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars and nightclubs opening at 50% capacity.
As these businesses and others resume and expand operations, those unable to source and procure personal protection equipment can utilize the state’s online marketplace to request masks, face shields and hand sanitizer. Click here to place an order for Hoosier-made items on Indiana’s PPE Marketplace.
Stage 4 is projected to continue through Saturday, July 4. For more information about Indiana’s Back On Track Plan, click here.
Several new economic recovery efforts are now underway offering aid to Hoosier businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19, while boosting the economy.
Indiana’s Small Business Restart Fund works to accelerate economic recovery by providing funding to cover COVID-19-related expenses. Hoosier businesses with less than 50 employees and $5 million in revenue in 2019 that have also experienced a 40% drop in revenue will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to 80% of qualified expenses. This could cover rent, utilities, or safety investments such as personal protective equipment and infrastructure improvements to help reduce the spread of the disease. Applications are now being accepted at backontrack.in.gov.
Additional resources are also available through the Indiana Small Business Development Center for Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses. Through federal funding, the Indiana SBDC is able to increase no-cost services, such as counseling and training, for businesses that were operating prior to and that have been impacted by COVID-19. Services will be available through the Indiana SBDC’s 10 regional offices across the state, and will include financial assistance, e-commerce, business adaptation and innovation, disaster resiliency and planning, and reopening plans.
The Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement program supports technology and operational advancements in the manufacturing industry. The program includes three initiatives, the Smart and Advanced Manufacturing Focus Fund, the Manufacturing Readiness Grants and the Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab. Launched by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the program encourages manufacturing investments to position Hoosier operations for future growth by prioritizing startup investment and resources, technology modernization and development, and training assistance.
These programs are additional tools for Indiana’s businesses and entrepreneurs as many work to reopen, get back on track and limit the impact of COVID-19. Click here to learn more.
Nearly 4.5 million Hoosiers are registered to cast their votes this Tuesday in Indiana’s Primary Election. Whether voting in person or by mail, IndianaVoters.com offers important information for the election on June 2.
Those who requested absentee ballots must return them to the county clerk’s office no later than noon on Tuesday. Completed ballots should be addressed to the local election board listed on IndianaVoters.com or within the ballot.
Early voting ends noon on Monday, June 1. To vote early, Hoosiers must go to locations listed at IndianaVoters.in.gov/countycontact. There, Hoosiers can find hours and contact information for local county clerks’ offices.
On Election Day, voting centers are designated by county, township and precinct. To find your local polling center and hours, visit IndianaVoters.com and click on “Find Your Polling Place.” Voters must bring an accepted photo ID with them, like an Indiana driver’s license or photo ID card, Military ID or U.S. Passport. If there are questions about what type of ID to bring, more information is available through the Indiana Secretary of State at www.in.gov/sos.
When voting, be sure to follow social distancing protocols and minimize direct contact between other voters and workers. Poll centers are equipped with protective gear, cleaning products, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant to wipe down voting machines.
While Indiana is addressing the health and economic effects of the virus, protective measures are in place for Hoosiers to participate this election safely and securely.
Hoosiers whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can take advantage of tuition-free training grants offered through Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program.
Established in 2017, the program provides Workforce Ready Grants to help Indiana residents who have a high school diploma or equivalent but less than a college degree receive training in high-demand job fields. With more than 500,000 Hoosiers filing for unemployment since March, grants could help those who are laid off or furloughed to build on their skills and get a better paying job.
Hoosiers can visit NextLevelJobs.org to apply for training grants, which cover the cost of tuition and fees for working adults to earn a high-value certificate at Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University. Job seekers can connect to local training and resources to find jobs in high-demand industries, including advanced manufacturing, building and construction, health and life sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.
IvyTech campuses offer students the opportunity to earn a certificate or technical certificate as a building construction management specialist, carpentry specialist, electrical specialist and more. For information, visit IvyTech.edu.
Businesses in high-demand industries can apply for Employer Training Grants, which provide $5,000 for each employee who is trained, hired and retained for six months.
Students interested in attending Ivy Tech have until June 8 to enroll in summer courses, and its summer session will run through Aug. 1. Anyone interested in opportunities through Vincennes University have until May 26 to register for the first round of summer courses and the second round of enrollment is open until July 2. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all courses will be offered online.
Hoosiers can learn more about eligibility requirements and apply for a Workforce Ready Grant or Employer Training Grant at NextLevelJobs.org. Anyone who needs help with the application process can call 317-715-9007 to speak one-on-one with a financial aid expert for free through INvestEd.
As Indiana eases restrictions on residents and businesses, testing for the coronavirus is key to getting the state back on track. A new large-scale COVID-19 testing effort is underway for symptomatic Hoosiers, with more than 150 testing sites statewide.
Tests are available to those who are experiencing symptoms, close contacts of positive cases and residents of congregate living settings. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. This list is not inclusive, so be sure to consult a medical professional with questions and concerns related to the coronavirus.
Through the Indiana State Department of Health, tests are available Monday through Friday at 50 locations across the state. Appointments can be made online or by calling 888-634-1123. Those tested will not be charged and do not need insurance, but individuals with private insurance are asked to bring their information with them.
Test results are typically available within 48 hours. Hoosiers who test positive will receive a phone call, and those who test negative will be notified via email or text.
These free sites are in addition to testing offered by local hospitals and clinics. Criteria to be tested and costs vary at these locations, so check online before going to a site or making an appointment. Click here for an interactive map with a list of open sites near you.
For the latest information on the state’s COVID-19 efforts, visit in.gov/coronavirus.
Hoosiers work hard every day to support and strengthen their communities. During these unprecedented times, several groups of individuals are going above and beyond to ensure those in need have access to critical services like education, health care and more.
A good educator can have a lasting and positive impact on the development and success of a child and instill a life-long love of learning. Teachers work tirelessly to give their students the quality education they need to move on to their next phase in life.
It is also important to recognize all the public servants who have been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of Indiana health care workers, emergency responders, law enforcement, correctional professionals, and so many other critical state employees have supported Indiana’s response to this public health emergency. We are grateful for their commitment, bravery and sacrifice during these trying times.
Now, more than ever, it is important that we give thanks and share our support for these Hoosier heroes.
Even while social distancing, there are plenty of ways to show gratitude for our state’s educators and public service workers. From sharing a photo with an influential teacher, health care or government worker on social media, to putting a thank you sign in the yard, a simple gesture of gratitude can go a long way.
Please take a moment this week to thank your local educators and public service workers, and let them know they are valued.
The Department of Workforce Development recently launched a new process for self-employed Hoosiers, independent contractors and “gig” workers to apply and receive unemployment benefits.
Under the federal CARES Act, Hoosiers who would not normally qualify for unemployment benefits may now be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. To be eligible for this program, you must first file for traditional unemployment insurance benefits and be denied. If you have already done this, you will have a “To Do” on your claimant homepage to complete the PUA application.
For those who have not yet applied, visit unemployment.in.gov. Click here for instructions on how to add your employer to the system. After adding your employer, you should be able to proceed with your application.
All applications must be submitted online at unemployment.in.gov.
Once an application has been approved, Hoosiers can expect to see payments on average within 21 days. The current target date to begin administering payments is May 8. These benefits will be calculated retroactively to March 29 and include the additional $600 per week federal stimulus.
The DWD is working diligently to answer questions and provide information to Hoosiers. Their helpline continues to have extremely high call volumes. Before calling, please check their website for their FAQ guide and other self-help tools. Click here for questions specific to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.