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State Officials Designate Indiana Uplands as 21st Century Talent Region


Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo and Secretary and CEO of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corp. Elaine Bedel joined Indiana officials recently at Cook Medical to announce the Indiana Uplands as the state’s third 21st Century Talent Region, a statewide designation awarded to Indiana communities focused on working collaboratively to attract, develop and connect talent.

“Home to world class manufacturing, research and innovation assets, Indiana Uplands is uniquely positioned to attract, develop and connect talent as the state’s third 21st Century Talent Region,” said Milo. “Working collaboratively across geographic lines, southwest central Indiana leaders have demonstrated a dedication to advancing economic and community prosperity, developing the necessary partnerships for growing the population, increasing educational attainment and raising household income.”

In partnership with the Office of Career Connections and Talent, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and with technical assistance from CivicLab, the 21st Century Talent Region initiative encourages local governments, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, and economic and workforce development partners to create and implement a plan to increase educational attainment, raise household income and grow the population in a region. By taking a comprehensive, systems approach, participating regions will identify strategic priorities and projects aimed at helping its communities create a better quality of place, develop and skill up its workforce, and connect talented Hoosiers with businesses seeking to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs.

During the event, Milo and Bedel presented Tina Peterson, president and CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., and its regional partners with the official 21st Century Talent Region designation. The Indiana Uplands is an 11-county area encompassing Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

“The Indiana Uplands is a region of hardworking makers, entrepreneurs, artisans, students, scientists and engineers, growing world-shaping ideas into remarkable products and thriving businesses,” said Peterson. “Over the past four years, we have cultivated meaningful partnerships and collaborated thoughtfully to align our communities, our key industry sectors and our educational assets. Being recognized as a 21st Century Talent Region is acknowledgement of the shared commitment we’ve made to regionalism and advancing economic and community prosperity in the Indiana Uplands. Like our hills and forests that reach to the heights, the Indiana Uplands is a region on the rise, and we are excited to continue this momentum to make it an even better place to learn, live, work and play.”

Spearheaded by Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI), the region identified key priorities through the 21st Century Talent Region initiative, including:

  • ROI will establish and maintain a regional dashboard intended to serve all partners across the region to deepen consistent regional collaboration through shared goals and operating practices.
  • The Indiana Uplands will establish and advance short and long-term goals for achieving a 10 percent increase in the number of citizens with a post-secondary credential by 2025.
  • The region will adopt an equity focus with the intention of narrowing the achievement gap for disadvantaged and/or minority populations that are underserved across the region.
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