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Progress in Indiana, report card shows promise

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The grades are in. A report card on the state of Indiana's economic well-being was released Tuesday morning, showing what's improving and what's declining. 

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce presented its 2017 report card in South Bend, to help educate the community on the how the state is doing. 

"If we were the best we could be, what would it look like?" asks Philip Newbold, the President and CEO of Beacon Health System.

Indiana may not be there just yet, but it's on that path. A path of progress.

"We want to be accountable to the citizens who are making huge investments to the state legislatures and to government at every level," adds Newbold. 

Indiana's 2017 grades showed a lot of change: some good, some bad. 

All of the grades are being looked at as factors for the future of Indiana's economic development. 

One of the areas that's showing a lot of promise? Education.

"Indiana scored very, very well in three of those six measures. We're among the top ten in the country," says Kevin Brinegar, the President and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. 

Those measures, indicating that K-12 and post-secondary education were improving immensely. 

"Our raw scores are moving up and our ranks are generally moving up as well," explains Brinegar. 

But workforce education? Not so much.

"Still more than 10% have less than a high school degree. That's simply unacceptable in the 21st century." he adds.

But that's not the only area that is lagging behind other states for certain problems.

One of the most concerning issues the state faces is the health and well-being of Hoosiers. 

Indiana ranks 35th for the adult smoking rate. 

"We're kind of tired of being in the bottom ten states for smoking and obesity. We know that there's an emerging opoiod crisis. Let's do something," says Brinegar. 

Already, there is a plan in action for this next legislative season to change the outlook.

"We committed to tackling smoking, obesity, and opoiods, and we started with smoking because that is by far the single most preventable activity or behavior that leads to a variety of diseases," adds Brinegar. 

Despite those statistics, the Chamber says progress is coming for Indiana's economy, even though there are a few setbacks. 

"In this report card we improved in 36 metrics and we declined in 16. That's a better performance than the 2015 report card," explains Brinegar.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb also had something to say about this newly released report card.

He issued a statement saying: 

“From improving roads and bridges to attacking the drug epidemic, from prekindergarten to adult career training, from more direct flights to enhanced regional development-all of these efforts combined will help build healthier, more vibrant communities that are magnets for jobs and growth.”

The full 2017 report card can be found here

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