Indiana Breweries Craft A Solution For Teachers in Need

Indiana Breweries Craft A Solution For Teachers in Need

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Sometimes ludicrous acts need inventive solutions or work-arounds. Indiana recently passed a law about teachers that just shows that most legislators don’t know much about what teachers do. In response, Indiana craft breweries are offering a measure to help teachers easily meet this strange new requirement. How can craft breweries help teachers, you ask? Well, it’s about crafting a solution for everyone.

House bill HB1002 was signed into law (public law 143) by the governor on April 30, 2019. Several parts go into effect on July 01, 2019. The law has to do with vocational and technical training. Some parts of the law are laudable efforts to make students aware of options open to them other than a four-year college. The law might have been a response to the Mike Rowe call that skilled workers are needed in the trades and that this is a great option for many students. However, there is a lot of bureaucracy and government oversight of the programs that schools implement. This is where Section 20 comes in to play, placing a new demand on teachers for license renewal.

image credit: Explore the City

With all that teachers already do, the new law will require that they achieve fifteen professional growth plan points (they already do many things for professional growth points, 90 total) by completing an unpaid 15 hour internship with a local company or the state to learn what employers look for in potential employees and to help teachers promote career navigation in their students (what the community is going to need, ways students can meet those needs). Some teachers have been very vocal about how intrusive and ill-conceived this plan is; they don’t have another 15 hours to donate to the cause – unpaid.

Kurtis Cummings, owner of Switchyard Brewing in Bloomington saw a post from an educator decrying this new demand on teachers’ time and pocketbooks and decided that this called for an intervention. If teachers need an externship to get their points, why not make it as quick and enjoyable as possible? Come in to Switchyard, learn about beer, drink some beer, and talk about beer. Boom, you’ve got an official letter stating that completed an externship. This is right up Switchyard’s alley – their motto is #ShareOurCraft, and this is just one more way to do that.

I told Kurtis that it sounds like a creative alternative that is meant to provide an easy out for educators to which he replied, “It sure is – teachers have lives and don’t need this useless requirement to do their jobs.” It took Kurtis about an hour to put together the idea after talking to some teacher friends and seeing what it was they needed. Participants will be offered multiple sessions to go through a tasting panel and get a tour of the brewery – you know, a short course to say they have completed their “fifteen hour” requirement.

image credit: Grand Junction Brewing

Cummings told me, “This isn’t a position. This is an opportunity for educators to meet some arbitrarily made up requirement to meet the new state law.” If you’re an educator interested in this program, please contact Switchyard by emailing Or, if you are in the central Indiana region, try talking to Jon Knight at Grand Junction Brewing at

Jon’s wife Dawn is a teacher and writer. When she became aware of the new requirement for license renewal, Dawn told Jon that Grand Junction need to do something about it. They saw the post from Switchyard and called to see how they could implement a similar program at Grand Junction. They stated on their Facebook page, “Those fifteen hours can be met by learning about beer production (and tasting, of course), working some of our charity events, helping at one of our trivia, open mic, or live music nights, etc. You can also learn about service, management, culinary skills, and more. We promise it will be your favorite free PGP experience!”

As if educators didn’t have enough going on, this new requirement for renewal of their license just demands more, all on teachers’ time and dollar. Craft beer in Indiana is alert and aware, and this is just one more way that breweries are part of their community. Perhaps more breweries will follow Switchyard’s lead, but the point is made – craft beer cares.


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