21st Century Talent Region Designation

Northeast Indiana is officially designated as the inaugural 21st Century Talent Region by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

In 2019, Gov. Holcomb, together with Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo and Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) President Elaine Bedel, presented the region with its official 21st Century Talent Region designation.

In partnership with the Office of Career Connections and Talent, IEDC and with technical assistance from CivicLab, the 21st Century Talent Region initiative encourages local governments, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, and economic and workforce partners to create and implement a plan to increase educational attainment, raise household income and grow the population in a region.

By taking a comprehensive, systems approach, a participating region will identify strategic priorities and projects aimed at helping its communities create a better quality of place, develop and skill up its workforce, and connect talented Hoosiers with businesses seeking to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs.

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Northeast Indiana is intentional to collaborate. We improve what we already have and build new things. Above all, we continue to grow together. This growth not only benefits our region’s students, but it also provides you the talent you need to succeed.

We are committed to improving the educational and career outcomes for children and adults throughout the region. Our goal is to increase the number of residents in Fort Wayne and the surrounding area with a high quality degree or credential to 60 percent by 2030.

Today, economic development includes growing a talent pipeline to meet the needs of employers. That’s why we are working to reach our attainment goal, why we launched our talent initiative, and why we continue to educate our region’s students.

Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities

The Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities network is a collaborative effort among nine unaffiliated higher education institutions. This unique consortium is designed to ensure that employers considering a relocation or expansion in Northeast Indiana have access to the talent they need.

One email or phone call will give you access to more than 40,000 students in over 240 degree and credential programs, as well as custom training programs to ensure your relocation or expansion in Northeast Indiana is a success!

Read more about the network >>

Past Initiatives 

The Talent Initiative is a program initiated in 2009 as a result of a $20 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. It is designed to accelerate education and training initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the Fort Wayne area. We also helped launch the Follow the Reader program to improve early literacy.

Our regional leaders recognized the growing demand of employers for highly skilled workers, specifically in the defense and advanced manufacturing industries, and this grant was devised to jump-start the region’s talent pipeline to meet the needs of these industries.

We are committed to improving the educational and career outcomes for children and adults throughout the region.

Today, Northeast Indiana’s economy has experienced a strong recovery from the recession, specifically in the rebound of manufacturing jobs.

The Talent Initiative grant played a definitive role in our region’s ability to rebound and make progress toward our goal of Northeast Indiana becoming a top global competitor.

Educating Our Future Leaders

New Tech schools

New Tech schools are booming in Northeast Indiana. These specialty schools cater their curriculum to the needs of our economy and your business.

The New Tech schools focus on project-based learning (PBL), integrated technology, and the development of 21st-century skills like oral and written communication, collaboration, leadership, and more. These schools also have focus on a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. Northeast Indiana has six New Tech schools, which makes the region one of the most concentrated areas of these schools in the nation.

Aligning with the growing movement of teaching 21st-century skills to meet the needs of regional employers, some of the recurring themes at New Tech schools are small class sizes and personal relationships with instructors. This creates an environment in which students are responsible for their own learning. Structured more like college, or even a workplace, than a school, New Tech schools are where students learn skills through self-sufficiency.

Higher Education

In Northeast Indiana we have more than a dozen colleges and universities to fit the needs of your business. We are also centrally located with many others institutions less than 200 miles away. Here are a few of these colleges:

International Studies

In Northeast Indiana we work beyond our national borders to provide your business with internationally educated employees.

Our region has several international-language-learning opportunities certified by the Ministries of Education in their respective countries, including an International Baccalaureate program for high school students.

Here’s a snapshot of some of those educational programs:

  • The Division of Continuing Studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne has a Japanese Saturday School (JSS) that is available to area residents of any age or nationality for instruction in Japanese language and culture.
  • Korean Saturday School provides educational programs in Korean language and culture for preschool and K–12 school children following the general curriculum prescribed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea.
  • Lindley Elementary School in Fort Wayne is one of only three Indiana schools to offer a Spanish Immersion program. The program is for children in kindergarten through fifth grade and teaches them to comprehend, speak, write, and read in both English and Spanish. The school is a member of the International Spanish Academies Program, which partners with the Ministry of Education and Science in Spain.
  • South Side High School in Fort Wayne offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, a rigorous college-prep program that offers students the opportunity to earn a diploma that is recognized by universities internationally. Students can receive college credit, improve their class standing, and become eligible for scholarships. 

By the Numbers

As a region Northeast Indiana harnesses and amplifies individual strengths to create something unstoppable, a community with an educated workforce to meet the needs of your business. By supporting higher education and providing resources for residents and business alike, we work collaboratively to help your employees, and your business, succeed.

Here’s a look at higher education data in the Fort Wayne area:

Beyond education, the Fort Wayne area offers an affordable cost of living, outdoor adventures, and a thriving arts and culture district. If you’re looking to find a home for you and your employees, learn more about what living in Northeast Indiana is like.

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