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New Data Tool Holds Region Accountable for Economic Success

June 19th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 19, 2012

New Data Tool Holds Region Accountable for Economic Success

Northeast Indiana Regional Dashboard Launches on New Vision 2020 Website

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Today, June 19th, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and the Community Research Institute (CRI) at IPFW announced the release of a new data tool called the Northeast Indiana Regional Dashboard. The announcement was made at a county-wide meeting held at the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne. The purpose of the Dashboard, a project of the Vision 2020 initiative, is to provide a common set of metrics for organizations, businesses and government entities to shape strategies and public policy for maximum impact on the regional economy.

"The Dashboard objectively reveals the strengths and weaknesses of Northeast Indianas economic performance. The Dashboard will help us to hold each other accountable as we seek to become a top global competitor," said John Sampson, President & CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "Improving Northeast Indiana's standing on these economic indicators will be difficult and will require a sustained and focused effort over many years. As we improve, our region will become even more attractive to the type of top level talent our current companies need and prospective companies are seeking."

The Dashboard, which was developed by CRI, is an unbiased data tool that compares Northeast Indiana's economic performance with 14 other regions--whose economies are performing at the same or higher level than our own--on five broad economic growth measures: Change in Employment, Change in Per Capita Income, Change in Gross Metro Product, Change in Productivity, and Change in Young Adult Population (ages 25-44).

"This is the first time the region has undergone this type of extensive analysis not only from multiple perspectives but also using data from demographically and geographically similar regions," said John Stafford, Director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW. "We anticipate this tool evolving over time to best capture the drivers of our economic performance."

Utilizing research from the W.E. Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, the Dashboard also tracks 40+ variables that have a strong correlation to the top indicators. In order to maintain consistency and alignment with the ongoing visioning work of Vision 2020, the 40+ variables were segmented into "Pillar Indices" to correspond with the Five Pillars of Vision 2020: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life.

"Moving the needle on this Dashboard cannot be accomplished through the efforts of any one organization," said Katy Silliman, Vision 2020 Director for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "We are asking businesses, residents and community leaders to stand up and take ownership of this information--commit to understanding what needs to be done to put Northeast Indiana on the map. The answer of how to be involved might not be the same for everyone, but that doesn't mean that everyone isn't a part of the answer. The question is: what will you do with this information to change the story of Northeast Indiana?"

Over the next several weeks, Silliman and Stafford will be presenting the Regional Dashboard concept to community leaders, business leaders and residents in county meetings across Northeast Indiana. It will also be featured on the new Vision 2020 website-www.NEIndiana.com/Vision.

County meetings have been scheduled as follows:

Noble County
June 25: 2:00-3:30pm
Noble County Public Library (Central Library), 813 East Main Street, Albion, IN 46701

Huntington and Wabash Counties
June 26: 9:00-10:30am
Honeywell Center, 275 West Market Street, Wabash IN 46992 - Legacy Hall (formerly the Gym)

DeKalb and Steuben Counties
July 10: 9:00-10:00am
Ashley Community Center 500 South Gonser Ave. Ashley IN 46705

LaGrange County
July 10: 12:30-2:00pm (lunch will be provided)
Lakeland Middle School, 1055 E 075 N LaGrange, IN 46761 (Please enter through door #9)

Whitley County
July 11: 3:30-5:00pm
Eagle's Nest Event Center, 125 S Eagle Glen Trail, Columbia City, IN 46725

Wells County
July 12: 9:00-10:30am
Wells County Arts, Commerce and Visitors Center, 211 Water Street, Bluffton, IN 46714

Adams County
July 13: 9:00-10:30am
Adams County Service Complex, 313 W. Jefferson St. Decatur, IN 46733 - Commissioner's Room (Room 100)

For more information about these meetings, contact your local economic development organization or call the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership at 260.469.3469.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 10 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.

The Community Research Institute (CRI) of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) was established in 1982 to provide Northeast Indiana with information and analysis on economic and demographic trends and serves as a support organization to numerous economic and community development agencies in the region.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Courtney Tritch
Director of Marketing
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
260.469.3460
courtney@NEIndiana.com

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