Eli Lilly CEO: Indiana needs to do more to take care of Hoosiers’ health and education

(Photo provided/Eli Lilly and Company)

The CEO of Eli Lilly and Co., one of Indiana’s largest employers, said the state needs to do more to improve health and education levels for Hoosiers.

“Our level of education in the state is not good. I think the ability to re-skill the workforce could improve. Health, life and inclusion, overall, I think, conditions rank poorly nationally in our state. And workforce readiness, also tied to retraining, is a liability for us,” said Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks. , at the Economic Club of Indiana on Thursday afternoon.

Ricks thinks nearly a third of traditional jobs will be replaced over the next decade in favor of math and science-focused roles, which are core to Lilly’s core business. According to his data, only one-third of Indiana high school students pass the state’s standardized math test and only 20 percent earn a bachelor’s degree.

He thinks Indiana needs a healthier workforce. Ricks thinks health care costs are too high and that makes Indiana less attractive to other employers.

“Who is funding this? Companies finance this. We need to fix that to attract more industry to our neighborhood here, Ricks said.

Ricks said Indiana needs to do a better job of being more inclusive.

“Certainly outcomes on all of these dimensions for black and brown communities are worse and we should be doing something about it. One of the main things businesses can do is provide good jobs,” Ricks said.

Governor Holcomb recognizes that more work needs to be done on the education side. He cut the ribbon for Intelinair’s new headquarters near Meridian Hills in Indianapolis on Thursday.

“If you look at what we’re attracting to Indiana State, we’re knocking the lid off the ball. What we need is more talent and specific types of talent,” Holcomb said.

Lilly executives haven’t said they’ll move headquarters out of Indianapolis, but they’ve invested billions of dollars over the past two years in research and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Boston and in Ireland.


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