In Indiana, and at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, we’re focused on making Indiana the best place to live, work, play and stay, and in many ways that boils down to service. Service to the businesses here in our state that propel our economy forward, and service to our communities and people who make the state what it is today. And, thanks to hardworking Hoosiers and job creators, Indiana is firing on all cylinders. Our pro-growth business climate continues to attract investment and new job opportunities from companies around the world, and we consistently rank best in the Midwest and top five in the nation for doing business. Moreover, our fiscally stable and predictable environment enables the state to make unprecedented investments in education, infrastructure and in our communities and people.
As the state’s economy continues to flourish, we’re faced with a new challenge, and really, an exciting opportunity—ensuring we have the workforce needed to fill the jobs businesses continue to create across our state. Along with dedicating more resources to education and rolling out new programs to assist our existing employers in skilling up their workers, state leaders are committed to helping communities create long-term plans focused on quality of place and talent attraction. Through goals initiated by the Regional Cities Initiative, which dedicated $126 million in matching funds to three regions, and carried forward by similar programs under the leadership of Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Indiana is investing in the culture, vitality and livability of our communities for today’s residents and for future generations.
In west central Indiana, communities are working together to transform the Wabash Valley into a destination for talent. Quality of place projects first identified through the Regional Cities Initiative have taken shape with broad support. The redevelopment of the Icon Building in Terre Haute, for example, utilized the state’s redevelopment tax credit to bring life to the once vacant industrial facility on Indiana State University’s campus, creating the now-available, high-quality Riverfront Lofts, which provide apartments for students and residents in the downtown area. And, with an additional $1.5 million awarded to continue its regional economic development efforts, west central is forging ahead with an emphasis on increasing tourism, housing and entrepreneurship, focusing on transformative projects like the Turn to the River initiative, which will connect downtown Terre Haute to the Wabash River through public art and design; enhancing Vincennes’ First Street with improved housing and tourism; and increasing trails, parks and recreational amenities along the region’s riverfronts.
To build on the momentum from the Regional Cities Initiative, Indiana’s leaders are also encouraging regions to develop comprehensive, data-driven plans focused on attracting, developing and connecting talent. Through the 21st Century Talent Regions program, business, academic and civic leaders across the state are collaborating to create and implement plans designed specifically to address educational attainment, household income and population growth. Since the program’s inception, two regions have already been designated as 21st Century Talent Regions, and we continue to work hand-in-hand with other parts of the state, including the Wabash Valley, to identify their strategic priorities.
In the coming years, we’ll continue to promote the same goals under these initiatives while building on the tremendous regional collaboration occurring throughout the state. Together, we made Indiana a global destination for business, and now, we’re making Indiana a global destination for talent.
Elaine Bedel - President, Indiana Economic Development Corporation