Gov. Holcomb: The Time for Action is Now

Gov. Holcomb: The Time for Action is Now

This year, COVID-19 and its immense impact on our health and economy have been front and center for our state. Facing a global pandemic and unimaginable loss, Hoosiers have sacrificed and come together to meet challenges head-on with incredible patience, resilience, and generosity.

By Eric Holcomb, Governor, State of Indiana

That’s why I’m confident we’ll prevail, not only against this virus, but as we face other monumental challenges as we rebuild together.

As I’ve talked with business owners, college presidents, law enforcement, corporate executives, church leaders, and everyday citizens – rural, urban, and suburban – they’ve conveyed that racial inequity and exclusion have been engrained in many of our institutions, systems, and structures, often unknowingly. Our nation was founded on the promise of equality, with “unalienable rights,” like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” guaranteed to all.

Yet, nearly two and a half centuries later, we haven’t fully realized this aspiration. We have more work to do.

And while we’ve seen people of color move into positions long denied them in education, sports, the arts, government, and business – including America’s first female self-made millionaire, Indiana’s own Madam C.J. Walker – COVID-19 has underscored stubborn racial disparities that are still with us, fueled by decades of unequal opportunity and structural barriers like job discrimination and access to good educations and healthcare.

As Dr. Sean Huddleston – president of Martin University, Indiana’s only predominantly Black institution – said, we must remove barriers to success so all can benefit and achieve their dreams without having to worry about how much privilege society has afforded them.

I couldn’t agree more. The time for action is now.

That’s why, earlier this year, I created a new position in my Cabinet. By solely focusing on driving systemic change within state government, Indiana’s first-ever Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer will remove hurdles in the government workplace and services we provide, challenging every state agency to elevate their game and developing ways to do so.

We’re also working aggressively to close education and workforce training gaps, recruit more minorities into high-wage, high-demand career fields, and empower more minority-owned businesses to take advantage of our state programs as we better tailor these programs to create greater opportunity for people of color.

To help Hoosiers unlock their potential, Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program, bolstered by an additional $50 million from the CARES Act, pays 100% to skill up Hoosiers for the many thousands of rewarding careers available in our state.

And as we work to get Indiana back on track, our Indiana Economic Development Corporation is supporting critical COVID-19 relief efforts, with tens of millions of dollars directed to small businesses and manufacturers and $5 million specifically designated to assist minority and women-owned businesses.

Through a partnership with the Indiana Black Expo, we’re working to light the path and give Hoosiers the resources to pursue it by connecting minority businesses, entrepreneurs and startups with workforce training, counseling, collaborative partnerships and funding opportunities to foster long-term growth.

Indiana’s blessed with so many great companies with strong ties to our communities and commitments to diversity and inclusion. As your governor, I’m committed to bringing greater equity and opportunity to state government and working alongside you to empower every Hoosier, from every zip code, to achieve their full potential. Truly leveling the playing field will require all of us, from every corner of society and our state, doing what Hoosiers have done whenever we face a challenge: make historic progress together.

Together, we’ll form that “more perfect union.”

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Category Features, Last Word