Indiana Uplands READI Development Plan, “A Region on the Rise,” outlines regional development efforts and future opportunities for transformational growth

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) and Radius Indiana have announced that the Indiana Uplands regional development plan submitted for the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) is now available publicly.

The plan, entitled “A Region on the Rise,” was submitted to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) on September 30, 2021. On October 7, the IEDC publicized the Indiana Uplands plan and those from the other 16 identified regions on its website at: https://www.iedc.in.gov/program/indiana-readi

The Indiana Uplands “Region on the Rise” plan showcases many of the regional development efforts implemented across the region’s 11 counties since 2012 and identifies a series of projects and programs that have the potential to catalyze transformational economic growth should the region be selected as a recipient of up to $50 million in funding through the READI program.

More than 270 potential projects and proposals were submitted by individuals, businesses, and organizations for consideration in the Indiana Uplands plan. Through a process led by a 17-member steering committee with eight subject-matter working groups, a representative sampling of approximately 70 example projects and programs were included to illustrate how READI funding would accelerate economic development and population growth in the Uplands.

IEDC’s READI program is expected to allocate $500 million in state appropriations to strategically advance quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction. READI grants of up to $50 million awarded to regions will support projects and programs that help make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. Selected regions will be expected to provide a 4:1 match in support of projects and programs.  This includes a required 1:1 match from local public funding and a recommended 3:1 match from private and philanthropic sources.

A large coalition of regional stakeholders supported the development of the Uplands READI plan. Through regional listening sessions, working groups, and focused conversations, hundreds of Uplanders helped to shape the plan that was ultimately submitted. TEConomy Partners helped to further define the plan by updating the region’s strategic plan for economic and community prosperity. Finally, the READI steering committee provided the leadership necessary to ensure the Uplands plan is demand-driven and regionally relevant.

“READI has allowed our region to acknowledge the incredible progress we’ve made, the challenges we have yet to overcome, and our aspirations for the Uplands,” said ROI President and CEO Tina Peterson.

“As a region, our anchor institutions, stakeholders, and communities have embraced READI as an opportunity to collaborate, reflect, envision, and explore new ways to pursue our expanding momentum,” added Peterson.  ‘The plan developed out of this process will magnify the potential of technology-driven industry sectors and key employers to attract talent, lead through innovation, and compete globally. Ultimately, successful implementation of our plan will result in population growth as we create a region where people and organizations choose to live, work, play, and invest.”

The “Region on the Rise” Plan identifies three key strategies to leverage and complement existing efforts to grow population and catalyze longer-term economic growth and community prosperity in the Uplands.

  1. Innovation and Entrepreneurship:  Scale and differentiate targeted industry clusters by supporting the growth of existing innovative firms and fostering the creation of new companies.

  2. Talent Development, Attraction, and Retention: Ensure that talent strategies are producing a talent pipeline that meets the demands of the Indiana Uplands’ targeted industry clusters and other private sector anchors.

  3. Quality of Place: Invest in the types of quality of place amenities that will attract young knowledge workers, mid-career individuals and families, help the region retain its existing workforce, and draw workers back to the Uplands, bringing economic growth with them.

Taken together, these strategies provide a holistic approach to systematically advance economic prosperity in the Uplands. The READI working groups and steering committee used these overarching strategies to select the projects and programs included in the plan. However, inclusion in the plan does not guarantee that READI funding will be available for a particular project or program. Further, opportunities not highlighted in the document could also be eligible for READI funding. Should the Uplands receive READI funding, a process will be defined for deploying the funds in accordance with the guidance and parameters established by IEDC.

An IEDC review committee will evaluate each of the 17 regional development plans. In December, the committee will make funding recommendations to the IEDC board of directors. The IEDC will then award READI funding to selected regions to advance projects and programs to catalyze economic growth and talent development.

For updates on Indiana Uplands’ READI plan and to see frequently asked questions, visit: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/readi

More information on READI is available at: https://www.iedc.in.gov/program/indiana-readi/overview

About the Indiana Uplands

In a region replete with talent and resources, Uplanders—from students to visionaries, artisans to entrepreneurs—are competitive and thriving here and worldwide. Uplands families, a dedicated workforce, and a tide of trailblazers call our 11 counties home. Home of industry and determination, innovation and creativity, good friends, and reliable neighbors. Our home is Uplands Made. Our counties are Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington. Learn more at https://inuplands.org/

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

In 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded three grants to three organizations totaling $42 million to fund regional development initiatives identified in the 2014 Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana. Regional Opportunity Initiatives, formed in 2016 alongside the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement and the Indiana Innovation Institute. ROI’s mission is to grow potential and possibility in the Uplands through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies.

About Radius Indiana

Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in the Indiana Uplands region: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention, and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.

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