Frequently Asked Questions about READI
What is READI?
The Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI) was formally launched by Governor Holcomb on May 3, 2021. The purpose of this initiative is to create an “opportunity to accelerate economic resilience and growth and become magnets for the talent Hoosier businesses need to thrive.”
Who was involved in the process for the Uplands READI Development Plan?
Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) and Radius Indiana (Radius) assembled a 17-member regional steering committee comprised of anchor institutions and regional organizations. ROI, Radius, and its partners, Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3) and the IU Center for Rural Engagement (CRE), conducted a listening tour in all 11 counties in June 2021 to hear about the accomplishments and priorities of each county. Over 200 community stakeholders participated in the listening sessions.
The information from the listening sessions formed the basis for the steering committee’s development of eight working groups. Each working group was formed with regionally relevant subject matter experts in the areas of digital inclusion, housing, innovation & entrepreneurship, quality of place, talent & business attraction, talent development, transportation & tourism, and health. The working groups met multiple times to identify, assess and explore projects and programs to enhance each of these areas.
How can the Uplands region use the READI Regional Development Plan?
This plan is designed to be used as a road map for achieving the region’s goals and objectives. The plan brings together a wealth of data and regional information that can be used as the foundation for local governments, businesses, and organizations to establish priorities, pursue resources, and find partners to help communities achieve their goals.
How were programs/projects submitted for the READI Development Plan?
ROI created an online tool that allowed Uplands organizations and individuals to provide information on potential projects and programs that have the capacity to grow the region’s economic outcomes through investments in talent, business, and quality of place opportunities.
Were programs/projects that were identified in the Plan guaranteed to receive READI funding?
More than 270 program/project proposals were received through the portal. The proposals were categorized by focus area and provided to the appropriate working group for review. The proposals had varying degrees of completeness; many of them were purely conceptual. Of course, not every great idea was included in the plan. Working groups prioritized projects, and there was a lot of work done to garner some concrete budget numbers in order to get projects included.
Many projects aligned along similar themes. Those programs/projects were often grouped together, and an overarching program was created to allow for a more comprehensive regional reach. An example would be the recapitalization of Ready Communities to assist the many wonderful quality of life projects submitted through the portal. Proposals were reviewed and/or selected by their working groups to serve as examples or a sampling of what things the Uplands could do should it receive funding.
Following the announcement of our region award of $30 million in READI funds, the Indiana Uplands READI Steering Committee launched two competitive funding rounds Ready Communities 2.0 and Ready Housing, and selected Ready Innovation and Ready Talent projects and programs aligned to the regional development plan.
Who is managing READI on behalf of the Indiana Uplands?
ROI is serving as the administrative entity responsible for the implementation of the region’s strategic plan and successful deployment of funding made available through READI. The process is being managed by the Indiana Uplands READI steering committee.
How can I stay involved?
ROI and its partners will be doing follow-up meetings to talk about READI, our updated regional strategic plan, and next steps in our path to regional success.