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Around the House

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The Indiana House Republican Caucus is the majority caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives & has 67 legislators, led by House Speaker Todd Huston.

Meet Graduation Requirement By Tutoring

High school juniors and seniors can now fulfill graduation requirements by tutoring younger students.

During summer break, students can experience some form of learning loss, meaning they do not retain some of the lessons they learned the previous school year, but most are typically able to relearn these lessons quickly. However, because students participated in remote- or e-learning due to COVID-19, a recent NWEA report estimates some children could be starting the 2020-2021 school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subjects.

To help bridge this gap, schools can implement the Indiana Department of Education’s newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which will fulfill the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2.   

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Not only will this program help bridge the achievement gap that some students may be facing, but it will also provide high schoolers, especially those considering a career as a teacher, the opportunity gain valuable skills.

House Republicans championed the 2017 law creating Indiana’s graduation pathways, which allows students to pursue opportunities that best meet their education and career goals.

Click here for more information.  

Tools To Prepare For The New School Year

Indiana students and educators are facing new challenges as the school year kicks off. There are several online tools now available to help students, parents and teachers get ready.

The Indiana Department of Education offers remote-learning resources, such as information on improving internet access, free computers for income-eligible families, recommendations to keep children healthy, and weekly, at-home challenges to complement schoolwork. The IDOE partnered with Indiana Public Broadcast Stations in the spring to connect families to educational television programing and online resources aligned to Indiana’s academic standards. These programs are still available and can be accessed at PBSLearningMedia.org. Parents can find their local station and TV schedule by visiting IPBS.org.

For schools offering in-class instruction, masks are required for students in third grade and higher, as well as for faculty, staff, volunteers and school visitors. The IDOE offers a guide for families to help students adjust to wearing a face covering. Masks are still recommended for younger students and exceptions are made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking.

An NWEA report estimates some children could begin the school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subjects due to learning loss over summer break and virtual or e-learning due to COVID-19.

To help, the IDOE encourages schools to implement the newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which allows older high school students to tutor younger students. The fellowship fulfills the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2, and allows Hoosier students to learn and demonstrate employable skills.

To participate in this program, students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

To learn more about the latest COVID-19 resources for Indiana schools, click here. Parents should also check their local school websites for the most up-to-date information.

INvets.org Helps Veterans, Employers Connect

As many military women and men are stationed across the world serving our country, they are also developing a unique skill set vital to today’s workforce. Indiana recognizes that veterans have a lot to offer, including a tremendous work ethic. Those who dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms can connect to rewarding careers in Indiana through an online tool called INvets.org.

INvets.org provides the most updated information for job opportunities available in Indiana’s high-demand industries like health care, logistics, manufacturing and technology. It also gives details about the skills needed for each job, the qualifications company partners look for, and the education and training programs offered for required credentials or degrees.

Finding a purposeful career can be challenging for veterans leaving active duty and transitioning to civilian life. In fact, the national veteran unemployment rate currently hovers at 9%. With over 85,000 careers in Indiana needing to be filled, our state can do its part to lower the veteran unemployment rate while meeting the needs of local employers.

INvets.org helps veterans begin their next stage in their careers through an easy four-step process: create a profile at INvets.force.com/veteran, research Indiana’s in-demand jobs, submit an application to the most intriguing careers and then report back to INvets so they can help make that first connection. The free online tools and resources are also offered to spouses of military veterans.

Indiana is an incredible place to live and one of the most veteran-friendly states. Helping military members and their families, who have given up so much to protect us, connect with employers, resources and communities in our state is the right step. For Hoosier veterans or those ready to call Indiana home, find a rewarding career today at INvets.org.

Indiana Launches PPE Directory

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. recently launched the PPE Directory to provide small businesses and nonprofits with long-term access to personal protective equipment.

Available online at backontrack.in.gov, the directory lists Hoosier companies manufacturing and distributing PPE items that include face masks and shields, gloves, eye protection, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. Shipping is free for orders placed by Indiana businesses and nonprofits. 

The directory features an initial listing of 12 Indiana companies that include: After Action Medical & Dental (Marion County), Catalyst PDG (Marion County), Fatheadz (Marion County), Fleece Performance Engineering (Hendricks County), Fusek’s True Value (Marion County), Harris & Ford (Marion County), Hotel Tango (Marion County), Kem Krest (Elkhart County), Mursix Corporation (Delaware County), Royer Corporation (Jefferson County), Sugar Creek Bottling Company (Marion County) and Worldcell Extrusions (Elkhart County).

All companies featured in the directory have been vetted by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and must meet the following requirements:

• Be headquartered or incorporated in Indiana;

• Be able to fulfill and ship orders within two business days of receipt;

• Offer free shipping to Indiana businesses and nonprofits;

• Have the ability to offer expedited shipping for a cost;

• Be able to process online orders and credit card payments; and

• Prioritize orders placed through the directory.

Eligible Hoosier businesses interested in being featured on the Indiana PPE Directory should contact PPEDirectory@iedc.in.gov.

New laws supporting teachers, patients and farmers

State lawmakers work hard to craft and support policies putting Hoosiers first, and 2020 is no exception. House Republicans championed several new laws now in effect supporting teachers, patients and farmers. Here’s a look at some notable new laws:

Teachers, Students and Schools
As part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. This should reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career. As Indiana continues to transition to the new ILEARN exam, lawmakers also passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.

To help cut red tape, House Enrolled Act 1003 went into effect earlier this year to allow the State Board of Education to streamline the timing and frequency of required teacher trainings and grant waivers for schools to bypass over 1,500 regulations. This law stems from a summer study committee where lawmakers heard from educators on how to grow the teaching profession.


House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. The new law ensures aspiring educators receive training on best practices to recognize students’ behavioral reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.

Patients
With 33 percent of Hoosiers receiving an expected medical bill last year, as indicated by a recent survey, House Republicans took steps to prevent the unfair practice of “surprise medical billing.” Under House Enrolled Act 1004, patients will be protected from receiving surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers, and, in the case of an elective procedure, the patient will have the right to receive an upfront, good-faith estimate of expected charges. In addition, Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.

Farmers and Rural Communities
With more than 94,000 farmers in Indiana, House Republicans continue to prioritize policies supporting these hardworking Hoosiers. Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. This plan is not health insurance, but would provide similar benefits to help many farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented similar programs through their Farm Bureaus.

To support rural communities, House Enrolled Act 1370 allows cities and towns to band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them.

For more information on these and other new laws, visit iga.in.gov.

Indiana Career Ready offers help to Hoosier job seekers

Indiana Career Ready helps prepare job seekers for in-demand careers, regardless of their experience in the workforce. You can use this online tool to explore careers or training opportunities. This service offers resources for those in the military, living with disabilities, without a high school diploma or re-entering the workforce.

The website provides access to different customized training tools, like a job portal and resume builder, based on previous experience, which helps applicants connect with potential employers more quickly.

With over 100,000 current job openings, if you are unemployed or underemployed, you can turn to Indiana Career Ready for new opportunities.

Employers can also partner with Indiana Career Ready to attract local talent by learning how to improve job postings and recruit Hoosiers. Business partners also receive exclusive access to Indiana labor market updates and an employer portal.

Create an account at indianacareerready.com/jobseeker and start your journey to a new career today.

21st Century Scholarship Deadline is June 30

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 more information, visit learnmoreindiana.org/scholars, or plan to join Learn More Indiana’s Facebook page for virtual assistance at 6 p.m. (EST) on Monday, June 29.

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.

Shop Virtually To Support Local Farmers, Producers

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.

Great State For Biz Continues To Reopen

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.

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