Driving Results for Northeast Indiana
Top Achievement over the Last 5 Years
As a wrap-up for 2019, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership prepared a tabulation of results achieved in Northeast Indiana over the past few years. This first perspective of the new decade presents our list of results to affirm the power of collaboration. We believe that each of these achievements is individually, and more so collectively, a reflection of what can be achieved when we work together.
I believe firmly that the Regional Partnership team along with regional leadership from multiple public and private sectors deserve a great deal of appreciation for creating the conditions necessary to achieve these results.
With this said, I am deeply aware that the Regional Partnership is nothing without willing and capable partners.
As I reflected on our past progress, I am increasingly mindful of how many individuals and organizations contributed to transforming possibilities into reality. Surely, there are many contributors that I am knowledgeable of, and many more that completely escape my attention, but all who were absolutely essential to delivering these results.
The spectrum of contributors is broad and diverse.
In just the one case of the $258 million of the Road to One Million projects, who could know how many individuals and organizations were required to work together to prepare the plans, financing and generating the necessary community support for any single one of the 24 unique projects?
As 2019 closes, all 11 counties had made significant investments of time, energy and leadership to increase the opportunity of their community to attract and retain the talent that our employers are all seeking.
For many years now, we have been working together with key organizational partners; far too many to list here. This includes private sector investors, public sector elected officials, foundations, nonprofits, K12 and higher education, along with many others. To the extent we are now so accustomed to working together, it has become second nature.
On the one hand, this is a great habit. On the other hand, we cannot ever take for granted that we are nothing without partners, highly skilled and influential in their own spheres of expertise.
Clearly, the “secret formula” for success is the building of trust so that we are reliant and ever-appreciative of what it takes to deliver results necessary to move forward towards our region’s Vision 2030 goals.
Northeast Indiana Works, the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the local economic development organizations like Greater Fort Wayne Inc., have worked tirelessly to advance initiatives in talent development, infrastructure, buildings, sites, incentives and more. Annually, they are producing hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment, thousands of job commitments and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual compensation.
So, you get the idea. Together, we are achieving amazing results in Northeast Indiana. Take a few moments to reflect on what we have accomplished together, and consider the magnitude of the collaboration of partners necessary to achieve these tangible measures of progress. None of this could have been achieved by any single one of us alone.
Our vision for the future remains clear. “Working together, Northeast Indiana is a magnet for the best businesses and talent and is recognized as one of the nation’s most prosperous regions."
Increasing Per Capita Income for 8 Consecutive Years
- Regional economic developers in Northeast Indiana use per capita personal income (PCPI) as an economic indicator because it represents a historical regional data trendline that accurately illustrates the comprehensive story of personal income growth over decades. PCPI is more than just wages; it also considers investment, entitlements like social security and other additional income. Over the last eight years, PCPI in Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties has grown at a rate even with the national average. In 2017, more than $33.2 billion of total personal income circulated in the region’s 11 counties—an increase of $1.2 billion of total personal income compared to 2016.
Growing the Region’s Population
- Northeast Indiana’s No. 1 employer need is increasing our talent pool. On average, there are more than 6,000 unfilled jobs in the region listed on the Northeast Indiana Jobs Portal. Between 2010 and 2015, Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties collectively lost an average of 1,000 people a year to other communities. However, from 2017 to 2018, the region grew by 5,000 people. As Northeast Indiana works to grow the region’s population to one million residents by 2030, the new population change information shows an uptick of regional population growth, outpacing the growth rate of the state of Indiana and other Midwestern states including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.
Attracting Business, Issuing Projects
- Since 2015, Northeast Indiana’s 11 local economic development organizations (LEDOs) responded to nearly 70 project requests issued by the Regional Partnership regarding companies looking to expand or relocate to Northeast Indiana. As a result, companies such as EnviroKure, 10X Engineered Materials, Rural Sourcing, Iotron, and Janus International have opened locations in the region. In 2018, the LEDOs and the Regional Partnership generated $660 million in capital investment, added 3,637 jobs and produced $176 million in total wages.
$42 million = $258 million through Northeast Indiana RDA
- The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) leveraged $42 million of state Regional Cities Initiative funding to generate over $258 million of total public-private investment in 24 quality of place projects in Northeast Indiana’s 11-county region. The full impact of Indiana’s Regional Cities initiative will not be realized for years to come. Northeast Indiana is fully committed to the Road to One Million plan for retaining and attracting skilled talent and increasing our regional population.
Regional Internship Program for Employers
- In Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne, we know that increasing the number of high-quality internships and experiential learning opportunities will prepare students for full-time employment and expand our talent pool for regional employers. That’s why we host the Professional Development Series as part of our Regional Internship Program for Employers. Over the past few years, the program has engaged more than 70 regional employers and influenced nearly 300 students from almost 90 colleges and universities around the world. In 2019, we increased student participation by 98 percent over the previous year. Students came from many places around the world including many different states and countries like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam. When surveyed, 88 percent of interns said they would consider living in Northeast Indiana after graduation.
The Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities Network
- The Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities Network is a collaborative effort among 10 unaffiliated higher education institutions in the 11-county region. This unique consortium is designed to ensure that employers considering a relocation or expansion in Northeast Indiana have access to the talent they need. The Regional Partnership works collectively to give site selectors, economic developers and business decision-makers swift responses to requests for information and to directly connect employers to Northeast Indiana’s robust talent pipeline. With more than 40,000 students in over 240 degree and credential programs, the network is fully invested in aligning higher education strategies with regional economic and industry needs.
Vision 2030: An Evolution of Building a Region
- Vision 2030 builds on the successes of its predecessor, Vision 2020, yet streamlines the processes to encourage greater community engagement and more nimble action. Vision 2030 is aimed at achieving three bold goals by 2030: increasing per capita personal income annually against the national average, growing our population to 1 million residents and increasing the percentage of our workforce with a postsecondary degree or credential to 60 percent. To keep our community thriving, economic development, education and community leaders must work together and act now to increase population, encourage wage growth and ensure Northeast Indiana is competitive in the global economy.
Telling Northeast Indiana’s Story Nationally
- To achieve our vision for the region and become nationally recognized as one of the most prosperous regions, the Regional Partnership works closely with national public relations firm Development Counsellors International (DCI) to showcase the compelling, authentic stories of businesses and talent living and working in the 11-county region. With over 680 million impressions since 2016, Northeast Indiana’s outstanding business climate and quality of life are grabbing the attention of national media. Over the years, the team has secured articles in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN Business, Chief Executive Magazine, SELF, USA Today and Readers’ Digest.
A Brand for Talent: Make It Your Own
- “Make It Your Own” is Northeast Indiana’s brand to attract and retain talent in the 11-county region. Make It Your Own is designed for businesses to use in their talent recruitment efforts to tell Northeast Indiana’s compelling story through a logo, tagline, marketing materials and authentic narrative. The brand was developed as a long-term marketing strategy with a multi-year execution plan. The Regional Partnership is promoting the Make It Your Own brand regionally and nationally through partnerships with media, special publications featuring local talent, a customized website showcasing the region’s quality of life and a brand video.
Marketing Northeast Indiana’s Jobs
- From advanced materials to vehicle manufacturing, companies are working overtime to influence and attract quality talent. To showcase the full scope of career opportunities in Northeast Indiana, the Regional Partnership launched a regional Jobs and Internships Portal. Unlike other top job sites, Northeast Indiana’s Jobs Portal not only markets job opportunities to talent nationally, but it also showcases what it is like to live and work in Northeast Indiana through visual and narrative storytelling. The Jobs Portal has received over 66,000 pageviews with users from states like Ohio, Illinois, New York, Michigan, California, Missouri and Kentucky.
Lafayette Center Road Connects Counties through Collaboration
- Recognized as a hallmark example of the power of collaboration, the Local Economic Development Organizations (LEDO) Council and the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus decided to develop a regional “spine” for transportation infrastructure based on economic impact. This decision led to a prioritized list of regional transportation projects to support Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) planning and legislative advocacy. It was this process that led to the $30 million Lafayette Center Road extension, which began in March 2016 and was completed in Fall 2018. The $19.1 million project from U.S. 24 in Huntington County to Fogwell Parkway in Allen County included building a railroad overpass, widening the road from two to four lanes, adding a center turn lane, upgraded traffic signals and other improvements.
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