Regional Opportunities Council Supports the Expansion of State-Funded Pre-Kindergarten Education

December 20th, 2016



Regional Opportunities Council Supports the Expansion of State-Funded Pre-Kindergarten Education


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – At its final meeting of the year, the Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), the investor board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, voted to support the expansion of state-funded pre-kindergarten education.

The expansion of state-funded pre-kindergarten, which is proposed in the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana’s 2016-2017 Policy Agenda, focuses on increasing opportunities for children to enroll in high-quality early childhood education programs.   

In addition to the ROC’s support of state-funded pre-kindergarten, the Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Caucus and the Local Economic Development Organization’s (LEDO) Council also supported the policy recommendation by the Regional Chamber.

“The endorsement by the ROC truly underscores how critical this regional effort to expand pre-kindergarten is to our business community. That coupled with the unanimous endorsement of representatives from all 11 counties in the Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Caucus and the LEDO Council shows that Northeast Indiana, speaking with one voice, is rallying around this important initiative,” said Ryan Twiss, director of regional initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

According to the Regional Chamber’s policy paper, numerous studies show enhancing high-quality early education boosts social development and school readiness, reduces the high school drop-out rate and increases adult earning potential.

The proposal to expand state-funded pre-kindergarten includes the following recommendations:

  • doubling the number of eligible counties;
  • including more rural counties;
  • removing or reducing the local match requirement;
  • introducing sliding income eligibility scale relative to federal poverty level; and
  • increasing accountability to encourage high-quality early care.

Research shows that more than 60 percent of jobs will soon require post-secondary education in the form of a two- or four-year degree or credential. Currently, just 38 percent of Northeast Indiana’s workforce has a labor market–valued degree or credential.

“High-quality early childhood education is absolutely a critical step toward reaching the Big Goal. The ROC’s support of the expansion of state-funded pre-kindergarten education is an example of the type of progressive and innovative business leadership needed to reach our tenacious goal,” Dent Johnson, plant manager at BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing and Chairman of the board of the United Way of Allen County.

The ROC, the investor board for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, is made up of more than 120 of Northeast Indiana’s business leaders who live and work in the region’s 11 counties. These leaders are from all different sectors - business, government, higher-education, K-12 education, foundation and non-profit. 

To learn more about the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, visit the website at To read more about how Northeast Indiana is working to reach the Big Goal, visit

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership with the mission to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. 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. The Partnership supports 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit



John Sampson
President and CEO
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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