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June 2021

Kicking Off Summer Study Committees

Indiana lawmakers are kicking off summer study committees, where they will examine the state’s top issues in advance of the next legislative session. From the Community Crossings program building up our infrastructure to the overall health of Hoosiers, summer study committees look at a wide range of topics throughout the summer and fall.

These study committees play an important role in the legislative process as they provide a forum for state policymakers to examine current and potential laws, work with members of the public and stakeholders to find solutions on important issues facing our state and communities, and prepare for the upcoming session.

Often, lawmakers serve on committees based on their experience and areas of expertise. State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem), a pharmacist, will serve on the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services. This committee will be looking into several important issues, including Indiana’s trauma care system and the state’s OB Navigator Program helping mothers and their babies. State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), a retired school superintendent, is a member of the Interim Study Committee on Education. This summer study committee will work to eliminate burdensome mandates on our schools and examine grant programs supporting students who are at risk of falling behind or scored below academic standards because of disruptions caused by COVID-19.  

Click here to see which committees members will be serving on, and for a full list of topics to be examined, click here.

Members of the public are welcomed to attend and testify at committee hearings, which typically occur at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hearings are also livestreamed and archived online at iga.in.gov, where committee calendars and meeting agendas are posted.

Build, Learn, Grow Scholarships Available

A new scholarship through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is available for working families seeking high-quality early education and out-of-school programs for their children.

Build, Learn, Grow scholarships can be used for children’s early care and education, and summer learning or out-of-school care. The scholarship covers 80% of child care costs for kids up to age 12.

Eligible families must include at least one member who is considered an essential worker, like those who work in health care or food service. There are also income eligibility requirements.

With thousands of jobs currently available in the state, Hoosiers who lost employment or income during the pandemic are looking at obtaining new or better-paying careers. Build, Learn, Grow scholarships can help working families with child care costs, so they can return to the workforce. This program also helps provide support to students whose learning was impacted by the pandemic so they can get back on track academically. Applications are open through Oct. 31. There are 50,000 scholarships available on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently, there are more than 1,400 programs throughout the state accepting scholarships. Learn more and apply at brighterfuturesindiana.org/scholarships/families.

Nominate A ‘Golden Hoosier’ Today

This past year, many older Hoosiers stepped up and helped others during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Golden Hoosier Award, we can honor them for their contributions to our communities.

The award, established in 2008, honors Hoosiers age 65 or older who volunteer their time, knowledge and compassion in service to their communities. The lieutenant governor and Indiana Family and Social Services Administration present the honor annually.

The Golden Hoosier Award is the highest honor Indiana confers on its older residents.

From retired teachers to those helping ex-offenders, and from military veterans to volunteers with local festivals, our communities are fortunate to be home to older Hoosiers working tirelessly on behalf of others.

Now is our chance to recognize them with a Golden Hoosier Award. Eligibility requirements include being an Indiana resident and a volunteer in your community for at least the past three years.

Click here for the nomination form, and be sure to submit it before Saturday, June 19. Those selected will be honored later this year during a virtual ceremony. 

Accelerating Student Learning

As many students start enjoying their summer break, many local organizations are preparing to accelerate student learning over the next few months and beyond. Learning loss is an issue some young Hoosiers experience when they return to school in the fall. Since COVID-19 disrupted student learning over the last year, many are still working to try to catch up.  

In an effort to prevent these students from falling further behind, lawmakers this session approved House Enrolled Act 1008, which established the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program. Recently, the Indiana Department of Education awarded more than $122 million in grant dollars to community organizations and schools in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties to help students get back on track.

As part of this program, grant recipients will focus on literacy, math, and college and career readiness this summer through tutoring, after-school programming and other enhanced learning opportunities.

Click here for more information about local organizations that received grants.

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