Big Goal requires swift effort

October 10th, 2014

News Coverage:

Big Goal requires swift effort

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 11:00 pm

Overall, Hoosiers are on the right track in terms of increasing the graduation rate, decreasing the unemployment rate and increasing per capita income.

But this trend needs to continue for the state to remain competitive in an ever more global economy.

The reality of globalization is what has brought community leaders and organizations together behind the Big Goal Collaborative. The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly is exploring that effort in a series that will run through the next couple of months. The series will break down the efforts behind the Big Goal and explain the work underway.

For example, despite a rise in northeast Indiana’s annual per capita income, it still is only at 81.2 percent of the U.S. per capita personal income, according to analysis by the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Back in the mid-1990s, it was at 96.2 percent of the national average.

The per capita income in the region relative to the rest of the U.S. has been dropping for decades, and is not just a product of the recession that struck in 2008. This means, the region has to ensure that it is attracting businesses that can compete in a global marketplace and the region must ensure it has the trained workforce needed to fill those companies’ jobs.

Breaking it down, the types of jobs competitive companies are establishing require more training than jobs previously have in the area. According to the “Big Goal Snapshot 2014,” released Oct. 8, more than 60 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary degree or high-quality credential by 2025.

That’s only about 10 years away, which isn’t much time when many degrees and certifications require a minimum of two to four years to complete.

It is great to see urgency being placed behind these issues and the hope is that actions will swiftly follow the data. As supporters of the Big Goal say, regional success with these initiatives will require a collaborative effort.