Northeast Indiana Takes Action to Achieve Vision 2020 Priority: The Big Goal

May 16th, 2012

May 16, 2012

Northeast Indiana Takes Action to Achieve
Vision 2020 Priority: The Big Goal

FORT WAYNE, IN - Today, Northeast Indiana took a "big" step forward in achieving The Big Goal, one of the top seven priorities identified through Vision 2020, the regional visioning process spearheaded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

A group of over 100 regional leaders dedicated two full days (May 15-16) to attending the Design Institute at The Eagles Nest in Columbia City, Indiana. Leaders in business, early childhood education, school systems, colleges and universities, adult workforce and economic development, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government spent their time creating the framework for the creation of a strategic action plan for Northeast Indiana to reach The Big Goal. The aim of The Big Goal, adopted by the region from the Lumina Foundation for Education, is to promote strategies at all learning levels, from cradle to career, to increase the number of working age adults with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by 2025. Currently, fewer than 35% of Northeast Indiana residents hold a degree or credential.

"We must commit to changing Northeast Indiana's story by transforming the region's economy and creating a talent-rich, globally competitive magnet for 21st century, high-paying jobs, so that all our residents have the opportunity to improve their standard of living and quality of life," said Vision 2020 Director Katy Silliman.

The question remains: How do we create change and achieve The Big Goal? A core team of interested leaders led by the Talent Initiative came together and examined a number of models of community and regional action and determined that the model of "collective impact," as exemplified by the Strive Partnership of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, provided an excellent model of social change. Collective impact is an approach to solving large-scale social problems that is based on the premise that achieving outcomes like The Big Goal can only come from effective cross-sector coordination and cannot be achieved by the isolated intervention of individual organizations.

As a result, Strive, a national initiative working to build the cradle to career civic infrastructure in communities across the country, was engaged to lead the Design Institute and to help build the framework needed to achieve The Big Goal. Strive has assisted regions throughout the country develop and implement action plans to align efforts and build partnerships in order to effectively create transformative action in the education and talent development arena.

Attendees of the Design Institute were invited to join The Big Goal Collaborative , networks of organizations that represent workforce training and all education levels, which will be responsible for moving The Big Goal forward after the Design Institute. Throughout this long-term process, the Talent Initiative will act as the backbone organization to convene and facilitate the networks. The aim of The Big Goal Collaborative is to embrace a shared regional vision of educational and training achievement, and then use evidence-based decision-making to implement what works for children, youth, and adults across the cradle to career learning journey.

"If we truly want to achieve the large-scale social change to meet this need, leaders from across all sectors must commit to aligning their efforts to create maximum impact in the region," said Talent Initiative Director Leonard Helfrich. "We need to create pathways to prosperity to inspire Northeast Indiana residents to strive for excellence and help them achieve their learning and earning potential."

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.


Courtney Tritch
Director of Marketing
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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