Regional Opportunity Initiatives Newsletter, March 2017

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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.

CEO Update

Regional Partners,

The Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity offers a roadmap, of sorts, for building a better Southwest Central Indiana. It reminds us of the exceptional assets housed here in our region, highlights the wealth of opportunity that exists, and challenges us to strategically address barriers to success.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) has been working with stakeholders across the region to build a framework for implementing education/workforce and quality of place strategies, informed by the Strategic Plan.  We know that for Southwest Central Indiana to fulfill its potential, stakeholders across the region must strategically and purposefully pursue a shared vision for success. Our schools, our employers, and our communities must come together to ensure we are prepared to achieve, to advance, and to excel. In short, SWCI must be Aligned and Ready.

On April 26th at French Lick Convention Center, ROI will convene its first Annual Report to the Region. We will share learnings from our Occupational Needs Assessment — to be officially released in the first week of April.   We will announce initiatives and investments that are ready for implementation and engage regional participants in planning sessions around work in progress.

Please plan to join us in French Lick on the 26th as we pursue the next leg of our journey, en route to a prosperous future for our 11 counties, our SWCI.  Look for registration details this week.

-Tina Peterson

News & Updates

Regional Educators and Career Coaches Tour Cook and NSWC Crane

Joined by educators, school counselors, and administrators, ROI’s graduation and career coaches recently toured Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division and Cook Medical to see operations first-hand. Graduation and career coaches will use the experience to inform students of employment opportunities and assist in developing industry-aligned postsecondary plans. Next up is a visit to Jasper Engines. Read more.

ROI Creating Internship Opportunities for Regional Information Technology Students

In October, The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) awarded ROI and its regional partners a Skill UP! Indiana grant to create Information Technology internship opportunities across multiple industry sectors in Southwest Central Indiana.

ROI is implementing a 3/2 work and learn model for IT students attending Ivy Tech, Vincennes University, and Indiana University. The goal of this initiative is to create a pipeline of qualified IT talent to fulfill the specific needs of local industry sectors and further stimulate workforce in the region. Read more.

Regional Educators Invited to Participate in Summer Externships

ROI is partnering with the IU School of Education Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration and DirectEmployers Institute to create an educator externship program, called the SWCI Educator Boot Camp. Teachers, counselors, and school leaders will spend 2-4 days within host companies learning about the skills and abilities needed at different employment levels within the organization. Participating companies include Jasper Engines (Crawford Plant), Singota Solutions, Baxter, Boston Scientific, Crane NSWC, COOK, a consortium of Lawrence County companies, and other employers in Southwest Central Indiana.

The program is modeled after one that takes place in Dubois County. These types of programs aim to foster relationships between school systems and relevant local industry, increase educator awareness of the types of careers available regionally, and enable schools to better align curriculum, counseling, and experiential learning to prepare young people for life after high school.

This opportunity is available to 50 educators across Southwest Central Indiana. The deadline to apply is April 14. Learn more.

ROI to Establish A Regional Council

ROI is working with regional partners to identify representatives to serve on a council representing the 11 counties of SWCI – Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington. Members of the Regional Council will be respected thought leaders in their counties committed to regionalism.

Regional Council members will facilitate communication with key stakeholders and community leaders, advise on regional strategies, provide local perspective, and convene communities to take advantage of regional initiatives and opportunities. Look for more information on the Regional Council on April 26 at ROI’s Annual Report to the Region.

I69 SWOT Analysis in Process

HWC Engineering has been engaged to support SWCI in developing an understanding of the opportunities and constraints for development along the I69 corridor in SWCI. The focus of this analysis will be on establishing a shared vision for how interchanges in Daviess, Greene and Monroe counties could operate as a system to support the broader needs and opportunities in our region.

Diverse participation will be essential to this process, and HWC is reaching out to stakeholders in the region to gain an initial understanding of the current landscape. Additional opportunities for regional engagement will be included in each phase of the work.

We anticipate that this analysis will be completed by June. Results will be made available to regional stakeholders and will be used by ROI to inform its work moving forward.

ROI Welcomes Three New Staff Members

ROI has added three new staff members! Get to know Matt DeGolyer, Adrienne Evans Fernandez and Michi McClaine.

Matt DeGolyer

Work-Based Learning Specialist

Matt is a former public school teacher with experience in the life science and healthcare sectors. Matt will be working with regional employers to design and implement work-based learning experiences for students in the field of information technology.

Adrienne Evans Fernandez

Education Specialist

Adrienne is veteran high school and college-level STEM educator who has developed curricula for fellow teachers, after-school and youth outreach programs, including professional development workshops for teachers using NASA education products.

Michi McClaine

Assistant Director for Education Initiatives

Michi’s K-12 public education experience includes teaching, administration, and leadership in curriculum and instruction. She will be working with ROI on the development and implementation of our education initiatives.

Upcoming Events in Southwest Central Indiana

Below is a summary of upcoming ROI events and those from our industry partners and organizations in Southwest Central Indiana. 

March 28-30: Economic Development for Community Leaders Conference
French Lick Resort. Presented by Radius Indiana.

April 7-8: Combine Conference
Monroe Convention Center. The Combine is a conference exploring the entrepreneurial spark at the intersection of community, culture, creativity, capital, and code.

April 15: Crane Land, Air & Sea Challenge
Ivy-Tech – Bloomington. This STEM robotics challenge exposes high school students to the engineering process through the design of unmanned vehicles that compete in predefined sets of challenges. Sign up to volunteer or judge.

April 26: ROI Annual Report to the Region
French Lick Resort. ROI will share learnings from our Occupational Needs Assessment and announce initiatives and investments that are ready for implementation. Register now!

April 27: O’Bannon Institute for Community Service
Ivy Tech – Bloomington. An annual event, Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute brings focus to community service, service-learning, and civic service-learning.

Do you have a regionally relevant event to share? Contact Betsy Trotzke, ROI Communications and Marketing Director at

Southwest Central Indiana

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

Follow us on social media for more up-to-date happenings in Southwest Central Indiana.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., is sharing this informational update with you  to illustrate the activities currently underway to ensure long-term prosperity and quality of life in Southwest Central Indiana. We hope you find this information helpful and encourage you to share it with colleagues. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

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