INDIANAPOLIS – One of Indiana’s biggest business groups is calling on lawmakers to help grow the Hoosier workforce and reduce burdens like high health care costs.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce held its annual legislative preview Monday, hosting a panel discussion with lawmakers about its priorities for the upcoming session.

Legislative leaders from both parties said reducing the cost of health care will be one of the top items on their agenda next session.

“I think overall the problem is not solved at all,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville). “We need to continue to put in transparency and economic forces.”

“All the large health care providers in the state of Indiana have some explaining to do,” said Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis).

The Chamber says the rising cost of health care is one of several burdens employers are facing. Labor shortages also continue to be an issue across many fields.

“Almost three quarters of employers say that they’ve been forced to leave jobs open due to a lack of qualified applicants,” said Jason Bearce, vice president of education and workforce for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Lawmakers say part of the solution involves education. According to House Speaker Todd Huston, the new state budget will include more funding for K-12 schools.

Lawmakers will also take a look at Indiana’s school curriculum to find ways to better meet the workforce needs, Huston added.

“How do we do more applied courses, whether we do personal finance courses, mathematical requirements, coding courses, science requirements,” Huston said.

Democrats say they want to see more action to support early childhood education and improve access to child care.

“Some people will tell you that they can’t afford to work because it’s too expensive for child care,” said House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne). “So if there’s any incentives that we can do for employers.”

More funding for economic development grants will also be a priority next session, Huston said.

Republican legislative leaders will share their agenda for the new session when lawmakers gather at the Statehouse on Tuesday.