INDIANAPOLIS – As cabinet officials from the Biden Administration visit Purdue University, the school’s president Mitch Daniels is touting the Hoosier State as the nation’s next hub for technology, while also responding to questions about his own political future.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a visit to West Lafayette to talk about various new tech jobs possibly coming to Indiana after the passage of the CHIPS Act. The effort received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Secretary Blinken praised Purdue for its efforts at expanding the semiconductor industry in the United States. This technology helps power many products, like cell phones and cars.
The leaders toured Purdue’s “microelectronics facilities,” as the school scales up its semiconductor programs. Two new production facilities are also on its way to West Lafayette. It comes not long after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (R) made a visit to Taiwan, a world leader in semiconductor production.
“We’re making investments very early on,” Gov. Holcomb said. “From the very first steps you might say. From K through 12. This is about GED to Ph. D.”
Daniels, who is also a former Governor of Indiana, says Indiana’s K-12 schools have more work to do to prepare students for jobs in the semiconductor industry.
“The jobs that we were talking about here today will require a high level of cognitive ability, and right now it’s not clear that our public schools here in Indiana are up to that challenge,” Daniels said.
Daniels believes that Indiana schools have some work to do with making sure Hoosier students are prepared for these high-tech and highly-skilled industries. He says it will take a lot of effort to catch students up from pandemic-related learning loss.
“I think it was very bad judgment to say the least that too many of our schools stayed closed too long,” Daniels said. “Our children have paid a price, it’s been measured. There’s no debate about this, and we’ve got to catch them up.”
Daniels also commented on his future after leaving his position with the University at the end of this year. He says that, above all else, there’s still plenty of more work to do in West Lafayette.
“I believe in sprinting through the tape,” Daniels said. “We’ve got four months of work to do. We’ve just announced a big initiative in Indianapolis. So there will be time to think about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.”
Watch more of Kristen Eskow’s exclusive interview with Mitch Daniels in the video above.