The second factor: Indiana must maintain its reputation as a business-friendly state. One of Pence’s first executive orders was to sign a statewide moratorium on new regulations. They are down 72 percent from this time last year. “We are cutting red tape.” He continues to ask business leaders in all 92 counties what rules get in the way of doing business.
The third factor: Great roads lead to more jobs, he said flatly. “I’m pleased to report … in this last session of the General Assembly … we were able to invest $800 million in new money for roads and bridges,” including $200 million for local infrastructure.
According to Pence, one of Indiana’s best assets is having the highways to move goods around the country. When critics say Indiana is in the middle of nowhere, he responds, “We’re in the middle of everywhere.” He wants area leaders to serve on a commission “to think big thoughts about (long-range) infrastructure.”
The fourth factor: Hoosiers must receive the right kinds of education to lessen the skills gap. When the governor talks to executives here, he doesn’t hear there are no jobs, but rather that they couldn’t find qualified people to fill the job openings.
“I’ve had all kinds of companies looking at Indiana.” While owners praise Hoosiers’ work ethic and decency, “every single company poised for growth tells me … ‘we have to be more confident than we are today’” that skilled labor is available.
His Irish immigrant grandfather used to tell Pence, “All honest work is honorable work.” Because both political parties want to make career and vocational education a priority, the Indiana Career Council and regional works councils have been established. “I’m incredibly excited about that. The purpose of these councils is to create curriculums that are relevant” for geographic areas. “The needs in Batesville are different than the needs in Evansville” and other cities.