Regional Opportunity Initiatives Newsletter, November 2016

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Advancing economic and community prosperity in an 11-county area that encompasses Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

From the CEO

Last week we had the opportunity to visit the picturesque town of Leavenworth in Crawford County, the southernmost point in our 11 county region. Looking out on hills that wrap around the Ohio River, I was reminded how much we have to be thankful for here in Southwest Central Indiana. Our region is home to exceptional landscapes, hard-working citizens, great companies, and abundant potential.

Yet, as we work toward impacting the lofty goals we have collectively established for our region, it is easy to be overwhelmed. We want every resident of Southwest Central Indiana, child and adult, to succeed. Every community to thrive. Every employer to operate at full capacity. We need per capita income to grow, for at least 60% of our employable population to have some level of post-secondary education, for all employers to have no shortage of qualified employees, and for our quality of life to be second to none.

Our will to achieve these goals was fully apparent as the ROI team and our friends from Indiana University and the Applied Research Institute (ARI) traveled across the region over the last two months. We met with community leaders – educators, employers, elected officials and nonprofit leadership – in every one of our 11 counties. The sense of possibility was palpable as we talked with one community after another and heard of their commitment to working within their communities and across the region to address our challenges and act upon our opportunities. Our conversations in each county focused on how we can work together to change the paradigm and meet the potential of our region.   

Every Friday morning, Betsy Trotzke of the ROI staff prepares a news digest of key stories from all Southwest Central Indiana’s regional newspapers. A recent review of headlines offers a starting point for the compelling story of our region:

  • I-69 Helps Daviess County Land More Jobs, Indiana Public Media
  • Huntingburg Addressing Main Street Development, Dubois County Herald
  • After Decades of Debate, Jasper Getting New Library, Dubois County Herald
  • GM Investing $37 Million in Bedford, Other Midwest Facilities, Bedford Times-Mail
  • NSA Crane Positioning for Future Success, Bloomington Herald Times
  • Kimball Office Furniture Honored for Innovation, Dubois County Herald
  • Automotive Supplier Expanding at Bloomington Tech Park, Bloomington Herald-Times
  • Commissioners Approve Infant Mortality Efforts, Spencer Evening World
  • Memorial Hospital Receives Five-Star Rating, Dubois County Herald
  • Battery Innovation Center Funding to Fight Cyber Threats, Inside Indiana Business
  • High School’s Career Coach: Success Really about Relationships, Brown County Democrat

Beyond the headlines, we also know that both Crawford and Orange counties are engaged in Hometown Competitiveness Initiatives, the NSA Crane Joint Land Use Study is nearing completion, voters approved public school tax referendums in three school districts, two Skill Up Indiana grants were awarded in our region, and students are benefitting from career coaches in 11 school systems. Communities are focusing on addressing affordable housing for workforce, access to broadband, and the list goes on. Southwest Central Indiana is a region owning its challenges and acting upon its strengths.

We have much to be thankful for here in Southwest Central Indiana, and we have a story that deserves to be told.

Three More School Districts Sign on to Participate in Graduation and Career Coaching Initiative

Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) recently added three new public school districts to its graduation and career coaching initiative, a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. Brown County Schools, Mitchell Community Schools, and North Lawrence Community Schools have joined eight school districts that are participating in the pilot graduation and career coaching initiative that launched at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

Working closely with school administrators and counseling teams, the coaches in the 11 school districts support 50-60 students in each school who are most at-risk for not attaining high school diplomas. The graduation and career coaching program is aimed at improving graduation rates and preparing students for pathways into technical certifications, associate degrees, and other postsecondary degree programs. Read more.

Occupational Needs Assessment Data Collection Complete

The ROI team recently completed the interview phase of our occupational needs assessment (ONA). As part of this initiative, ROI’s sector specialists met with representatives of more than 50 regional companies to discuss topics such as workforce strengths, pain points, talent attraction, growth plans and current and future educational and skill set needs.

The ROI team is currently analyzing the information gathered from these discussions and comparing it to real-time regional and employment trends and job postings. Once this analysis is complete, a convening of sector and educational partners will be held to share aggregate results of the assessment before being released to the public. The ONA will be updated annually to ensure the development of ongoing education and workforce strategies specific to the needs of the employers in the region.

The ROI team would like to thank all of those who participated in the occupational needs assessment. We value your time and look forward to collectively making a difference in the region! Read more.

ROI awarded $134,000 grant from DWD to develop information technology work-based learning opportunities

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) recently awarded Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) and its regional partners a Skill UP Indiana! grant of $134,228. The grant will be used to create internship opportunities across multiple industry sectors in Southwest Central Indiana. The outcome of such experiences will be a more highly qualified and work-ready talent pool to meet the current and growing demand for information technology (IT) professionals.

“In our discussions with regional industry partners, we’ve identified a strong need for IT, whether the company is a small advanced manufacturing firm, a national defense engineering contractor, or a multinational life sciences company,” said ROI Interim CEO Tina Peterson. “We’re grateful to Indiana DWD for this unique opportunity to deploy a new approach to talent development and retention in the field of IT that will have a broad impact for many people, companies, and communities in Southwest Central Indiana. Read more.

National Spotlight on NSA Crane and NSWC Crane Serves as Collaboration Catalyst

For 75 years, Crane’s influence as a national laboratory in Southwest Central Indiana has been significant. This year, NSA Crane and NSWC Crane are shedding light on a number of its operations, educating the community, expanding STEM outreach to local schools, and developing partnerships with legislators, economic development organizations, private contractors, and academic partners from University of Southern Indiana, Indiana University, and Purdue University.

Recent visitors have helped to demonstrate how important this naval institution is to our region and the nation. Visitors have included Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, Chris Fall, assistant director of defense programs for the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, and Dr. Walter F. Jones, executive director of the Office of Naval Research.

“The Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana identified national security and defense as one of Southwest Central Indiana’s key industry sectors for the greatest potential for growth,” said ROI Interim CEO Tina Peterson. “These recent visitors to our region showcase the importance of Crane, and we’re thrilled to be a part of these important conversations to enhance global relevancy for Crane and to help grow collaborations with industry and academic partners for many years to come.”

New Staff and Board Members

This summer, ROI added three new members to its Board of Directors and hired a Regional Opportunity Fund Project Manager! Get to know Chuck Johnson, Jai Perumal, Jeff Quyle and Jen Healy.

Chuck Johnson
ROI Board Member and President of Vincennes University

Charles R. “Chuck” Johnson became President of Vincennes University in December 2015, after serving as Interim President for four months. Johnson came to VU as Provost/Vice President for Instructional Services/Dean of Faculty in 2012.  While at VU, Johnson has overseen the development and growth of work-based learning program partnerships with industry, including the Toyota Advanced Maintenance Technician program in Southwest Indiana, the Advanced Internship in Manufacturing in Lafayette, and the Career Advancement Partnership, with a consortium of seven Dubois County employers.

Jai Perumal
ROI Board Member and Plant Manager, GKN Sinter Metals (Salem, IN)

Jai Perumal has been with GKN Sinter Metals since 2005. He has a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Wichita State University and is also a member of the Washington County Economic Growth Partnership.

Jeff Quyle
ROI Board Member and President and CEO, Radius Indiana

In July, Jeff Quyle was promoted from COO to CEO of Radius Indiana, a regional economic development partnership in Southwest Central Indiana. As CEO, Quyle provides strategic oversight and direction for business development and enhances relationships with key regional business, community and government leaders. Prior to Radius Indiana, Quyle served as the Economic Development Coordinator for Hoosier Energy and has more than 25 years of experience working for rural electric cooperatives in Indiana.

Jen Healy
Regional Opportunity Fund
Project Manager

Jen Healy recently received her master’s degree in public affairs from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She received her BA in political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and interned with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and for Representative Ellen Story.

Job Opportunities

 Are you passionate about growing our region? ROI is hiring!

Apply for: Work-Based Learning Specialist, Education Specialist, and Advanced Manufacturing Sector Specialist positions.

SouthWest Central Indiana Regional Development

11 counties, 4,500 square miles, the 3rd largest Navy base in the world, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and more.

Southwest Central Indiana.

ROI Board of Directors

Brian Blackwell, NSWC Crane
Mark Bradford, Old National Bank
Tim Craddock, NSA Crane
Duane Embree, Indiana Office of Defense Development & Ivy Tech Community College
Chuck Johnson, Vincennes University
Doug Kellams, Tri-County Builders
Paul Mitchell, Energy Systems Network
Tom Morrison, Indiana University
Jai Perumal, GKN Sinter Metals
Dan Peterson, Cook Group
Tina Peterson, ROICommunity Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
Jeff Quyle, Radius Indiana
Becky Skillman, Radius Indiana
William Stephan, Indiana University
Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech Bloomington
Matt Weinzapfel, Jasper Engines

ROI Staff

Tina Peterson, Interim CEO
Todd Hurst, Director of Education and Workforce
Laura Englander, Life Sciences Sector Specialist
Angel Reece, National Security and Defense Sector Specialist
Jen Healy, Regional Opportunity Fund Project Manager
Betsy Trotzke, Marketing and Communications Director
Kris Stratten, Controller

Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., is sharing this informational update with you – as one of our stakeholders – to illustrate the activities currently underway to connect education and industry to create a native workforce that is prepared for the demands of employers in our region. We hope you find this information helpful and encourage you to share it with colleagues throughout Southwest Central Indiana. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

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