Talent Initiative’s impact highlighted in “Report to the Region”

April 30th, 2014

April 30, 2014

Talent Initiative's impact highlighted in "Report to the Region"

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Talent Initiative jumpstarted the region's talent pipeline to meet the needs of Northeast Indiana employers, specifically in the aerospace/defense and advanced manufacturing industries, according to a "Report to the Region" issued by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which oversaw the Talent Initiative.

The Talent Initiative was a program initiated in 2009 as a result of a $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. designed to accelerate education and training initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the 10-county region of Northeast Indiana. The Talent Initiative disbursed the last of the grant funds in 2014.

"Our regional leaders recognized the growing demand for highly skilled workers among Northeast Indiana employers, and the Talent Initiative was created specifically to help fill that need," said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "The Talent Initiative has transformed our region's talent development efforts in many ways. The report allows us to look back on the program's achievements and share the positive impacts with the region."

The Talent Initiative focused on four strategies: retraining the adult workforce for 21st century advanced manufacturing skills; enhancing the advanced manufacturing program at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast; increasing the pipeline of regionally developed engineering talent by building capacity in higher education; and preparing K-12 students for a knowledge-based economy.

By the conclusion of the program, the Talent Initiative had:

  • Partnered with WorkOne Northeast to supply training activities to 3,352 workers, exceeding the program's initial goal of 1,200 adult workers.
  • Invested $2.6 million in state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, which has been used by 1,216 students since Spring 2010.
  • Collaborated with Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and Northeast Indiana defense/aerospace employers to fund the creation of two associate director positions, the Wireless Technology Center of Excellence, the Information Analytics and Visualization Center (IAV Center), and a Systems Engineering Lab.
  • Supported the funding for six New Tech high schools and the pilot of two New Tech middle schools to feed into the high schools, which gives Northeast Indiana the highest concentration of New Tech schools in the nation.
  • Awarded more than $2 million in grants to help educators in the region implement project-based learning (PBL) in their schools.
  • Launched the Made Here campaign to raise awareness of the STEM-related programs made possible by the Talent Initiative, to promote a culture of continuous learning in the region and to provide resources for attracting and retaining Northeast Indiana talent.

"The Talent Initiative and its partners provided support to the advanced manufacturing and aerospace/defense industries during a time when the region needed it most. As a result of the success of the Talent Initiative, Northeast Indiana is well positioned to expand its efforts as a part of a long-term talent development plan for the region with the Big Goal Collaborative, which is an initiative of the Regional Partnership," said Reed Silliman, Community Partnership Inc. (CPI) board chair.

CPI, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, provided financial oversight to the Talent Initiative while the Northeast Indiana Fund, a supporting organization of the Regional Partnership, provided operational oversight.

Moving forward, the initial premise of the Talent Initiative has been expanded to develop the Big Goal Collaborative. The Big Goal Collaborative is focused on creating a cradle-to-career talent pipeline that will create system-wide change in the region and help Northeast Indiana reach the "Big Goal." The "Big Goal"--one of the priorities identified through the Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative--aims to increase the percentage of Northeast Indiana residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025.

The Talent Initiative "Report to the Region" can be found in the Resource Center on the Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 website.

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 creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering 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. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.



Courtney Tritch
Marketing Director
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership