FORT WAYNE — Northeast Indiana is officially designated as the inaugural 21st Century Talent Region by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.

At the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana’s annual meeting on Thursday, June 20, Holcomb, together with Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo and Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Elaine Bedel, presented the region with its official 21st Century Talent Region designation.

In partnership with the Office of Career Connections and Talent, IEDC and with technical assistance from CivicLab, the 21st Century Talent Region initiative encourages local governments, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and economic and workforce 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, a participating region 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.

“Regional and local collaboration is key for Indiana communities when it comes to attracting, developing and connecting talent,” said Milo. “Northeast Indiana is a leader in cultivating 21st Century Talent by seamlessly connecting community team members together to grow the population, increase educational attainment and raise household income.”

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership worked with regional business, community and higher education leaders to identify key priorities for the region to achieve by the year 2030 through the 21st Century Talent Region initiative, including:

• Developing collaborative relationships within the region;

• Encouraging implementation and adjustment of initiatives to meet the goal of growing the region’s population to 1 million residents;

• Increasing post-secondary education and credential attainment to more than 60 percent; and

Raising per capita personal income to 90 percent against the national average.

As part of the initiative, the Office of Career Connections and Talent recently unveiled the 21st Century Talent Region Data Display to increase data accessibility, organize data across a customizable geographic region, and inform conversation among regional and local leaders to identify and prioritize collaborative efforts.

Ryan Twiss, vice president of regional initiatives of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the state’s designation aligns efforts through common metrics, goals, and efforts to provide maximum impact for the state and Northeast Indiana.

“We are excited and humbled to be the first 21st Century Talent Region in the state. It is an honor to help organize the truly collaborative work that led to this designation. This is the result of a regional collaboration with many people coming together to provide input and expertise. We think this designation will be an important step as Northeast Indiana works to become a magnet for talent and one of the most prosperous regions in the country,” said Twiss. “This statewide collaboration is critical to our region’s success in the global war for talent and jobs.”

Next steps for Northeast Indiana include:

• Developing collaborative relationships and dashboards within the 11-county region by June 20, 2020; and

Encouraging implementation or adjustment of collaborative initiatives to meet the goals of growing the population to 1 million people, increasing postsecondary education and credential attainment to more than 60 percent and raising per capita personal income to 90 percent against the national average by 2030.

“To build on Indiana’s economic success, the state is committed to encouraging communities to plan for their future by promoting regional collaboration and creating long-term strategies focused on the quality of place and talent attraction,” said Bedel. “We’re excited that Northeast Indiana is forging ahead with its regional development plan under the 21st Century Talent Region initiative, and look forward to working hand-in-hand with communities in other regions to promote the same goals under the program.”

To read more news about Northeast Indiana, visit the website or for more information about 21st Century Talent Regions, visit the state’s website.