State Officials Designate Indiana Uplands as 21st Century Talent Region

Indiana Uplands logo with 21st Century Talent Region logo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo and Secretary and CEO of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation Elaine Bedel joined Indiana officials today 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 Secretary 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, Secretary Milo and Secretary Bedel presented Tina Peterson, President and CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI), 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 Tina 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.

“I am proud to be here today for this announcement, and I applaud the Indiana Uplands region for taking a vested interest in preparing their workforce to meet the demands of both our current and future business needs,” said Secretary Bedel. “Their partnerships throughout the southwest central community will unlock numerous new opportunities for success in the region and, ultimately, will attract talented individuals to our state and make Indiana a place people want to work, live, play and thrive.”

The two other 21st Century Talent Regions include Northeast Indiana Region (an 11-county region in the greater Fort Wayne area), and the EcO Network of Southwest Indiana Region (a 7-county region that includes the communities of Batesville, Columbus, Greensburg, North Vernon, Rising Sun and Seymour).

About the Office of Career Connections and Talent

As part of his Next Level Indiana Agenda, Governor Eric J. Holcomb established the Secretary of Career Connections and Talent as a new cabinet-level position in state government to serve as Indiana’s chief talent and recruiting official. Secretary Blair Milo and the Office of Career Connections and Talent is dedicated to continuously assessing needs, identifying promising practices, connecting Hoosier workers to employment opportunities, and coordinating future priorities to improve the quality and quantity of Hoosier workers to ensure a skilled and talented workforce within the state of Indiana.

About the Indiana Economic Development Corporation

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit

About CivicLab

CivicLab is a nonprofit institute dedicated to advancing the practice of civic collaboration. CivicLab emerged from the Community Education Coalition (CEC) in Columbus, Indiana, a nationally recognized partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning and integrating the community’s learning system with economic growth and a high quality of life. Since its inception, CivicLab has partnered with over 275 communities and organizations across the U.S. and trained more than 10,000 leaders of foundations, educational institutions, community government, corporations, and community development organizations.

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

The mission of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is to support economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands (Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties). ROI is implementing education and workforce initiatives and regional engagement initiatives for quality of place development.