For the past year, and especially the past couple of months, I’ve made a special effort to stay abreast of work opportunities and job layoffs in our state. That’s because, as an Indiana bankruptcy lawyer, I know how important it is for my clients to have income as they emerge from bankruptcy. Simply put, income is the key to rebuilding finances after bankruptcy, as I brought out in “Indiana Bankruptcy Attorney Tracks Latest Job Stats”.

I’m not the only one paying attention to the job picture in Indiana, it seems. Our state officials are already considering the best ways to use the approximately $5 billion Indiana will be receiving under our new president’s stimulus package. According to the Indianapolis Star, key lawmakers think creating jobs has to be the state’s #1 priority. To that end, Governor Mitch Daniels said the Indiana Department of Transportation is already seeking bids on infrastructure projects, while the Indiana Finance Authority is inviting bids on clean water projects.

In addition to providing funding for jobs on these projects, the stimulus money would allow Indiana to increase unemployment benefits, increase food stamps, and, very important, help unemployed people keep their health insurance via COBRA, by paying for 65% of those benefits. Indianapolis Business Journal‘s Ed Feigenbaum puts it this way: “Jobs themselves may become ‘Job One’ for our elected officials.

With four bankruptcy law offices serving central Indiana, I’m talking with thousands of hardworking, responsible people whose financial lives have been totally derailed, with job loss being a principal cause. As I’ve so often remarked in these bankruptcy blogs, filing bankruptcy in Indiana can’t really be a long-lasting solution for most people’s financial problems without there being work available for them.

The employment situation right now is very difficult, but, as is true with all problems, recognizing the problem is the first step in finding the solution. I’m encouraged when I see that our federal government, our state legislators, and I seem to be “on the same page” when it comes to jobs.