Gateway now a 21st Century Talent Region

By Herald Staff

The Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent has selected Southern Indiana Gateway, consisting of Dubois, Orange, Crawford, Perry, Spencer, and Pike counties, as the state’s 13th 21st Century Talent Region. The designation is awarded to Hoosier communities focused on working collaboratively to attract, develop and connect talent.

“We will use the designation to achieve several goals, which includes, increasing employer engagement with the education and workforce systems in high-demand industry sectors,” said Brenda Stallings, CEO, Matrix Integration, and member of the region’s t10-member committee. “These initiatives are critical to the economic development in our Southern Indiana Gateway counties.”

The designation was announced by the former Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo.

As a 21st Century Talent Region with key priorities to:

• Increase regional population 15% by 2026 by providing the necessary housing and broadband infrastructure to build capacity.

• Increase the certified skills of the population 20% through programs with regional workforce boards and innovation with community colleges and universities.

• Increase the number of high school graduates with stackable credentials and/or certificates by 20% by 2026
increase employer engagement with the education and workforce systems in high-demand industry sectors, to be measured by increasing the number of internship or apprenticeship opportunities available to youth and adults by 10% each year.

• Provide continual engagement of partnerships with civic groups and elected leadership with events of opportunity and continuum of care with the goal to raise collective assessed value by 5% and 10 events by 2026 as well as invest in marketing the talent region for population growth.

“On behalf of the Southern Indiana Gateway region, we are thrilled to be receiving this designation," said Dubois County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Becky Hickman. "Each of our six-counties is working on similar initiatives such as a talent development, broadband to every household and workforce and talent attraction. With these things in mind, it just makes sense to come together and work collaboratively to see positive movement. We are using a dashboard that measures the six-county data, initiatives, and goal obtainment. Aligning with the state’s 21st Century Talent Region designation, state workforce and talent development initiatives will help us gain traction in our efforts.”

The 10-member committee includes: Ashley Willis, Pike County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director; Jill Hyneman, Pike County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Wendi Rich, Perry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Erin Emerson, Perry County Development Corporation Executive Director; Kristal Painter, Orange County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director; Michael Thissen, Crawford County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director; Kathy Reinke, Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Valerie Schmidt, Lincolnland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director
Brenda Stallings, CEO of Matrix Integration; Becky Hickman, Dubois County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

“We have gathered input from multiple types of stakeholders throughout the six-county region,” Reinke said. “We have a lead team that will meet monthly to measure our success and work on our initiatives and goals.”

Business, education, and community leaders have been instrumental in growing talent and fostering innovation in the Southern Indiana Gateway region, and the region’s efforts to foster collaboration among Hoosier communities have set the foundation for receiving the 21st Century Talent Region designation.

“Investing in our future workforce is critical for Indiana’s statewide and regional economy,” said Luke Bosso, chief of staff, Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “We are excited the Southern Indiana Gateway Region is invested in retaining and attracting talent, and we encourage each 21st Century Talent Region to build on its strategic plan and partnerships and apply those to the regions developing through the state’s new READI program.”




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