Over the course of the past week, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership convened seven regional stakeholder meetings and the second of three anticipated READI Steering Committee meetings.
Five of the seven meetings represented the advisory committees of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership:
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Education and Workforce
- Industry Growth
- Talent Attraction and Retention
The additional two meetings were comprised of regional Mayors, Commissioners, and economic development professionals. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership advisory committees discussed project and program submissions which were tagged to their strategic initiatives and how the proposed projects and programs may align with these.
The meetings followed the closing of the Get READI Submission Form on Sunday, July 18th. The form was used to collect project and program proposals to support the South Bend – Elkhart region’s READI application being submitted by August 31st to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). The region provided 170 submissions for consideration, including brick and mortar projects as well as programs and initiatives aligned with the strategies outlined in the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS). Total READI funds requested from all submissions totaled nearly $215 million, including $148 million of brick-and-mortar projects.
The final proposal being submitted on behalf of the South Bend – Elkhart region will be informed by the submissions, alongside the REDS Plan, research done in recent history such as the TEConomy Report: Tides of Change, the Brookings Institute’s Indiana GPS Project, and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Regional Belonging Survey, and meetings with regional stakeholders and community members.
“Clearly there’s a great amount of enthusiasm for our region and we’re excited about the opportunity from READI to fund many of these as well as bringing together potential collaborating organizations,” says South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership President and CEO, Regina Emberton.
“Should the South Bend – Elkhart region be fortunate to enter into a financial partnership with the IEDC through the READI program, we anticipate a formal call for more detailed applications that align with the regional plan submitted to the state in 2022. We will be selecting signature, demonstrative projects from the submissions received for inclusion in the South Bend – Elkhart application and those not called out specifically will continue to be a part of ongoing conversations to encourage collaboration and regional economic development,” says South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Board Chair and Community Foundation of Elkhart County President, Pete McCown.
During the July 22nd READI Steering Committee meeting, advisory committee chairs shared highlights and examples of programs that aligned with established strategies. In addition to the sharing of information, a motion was passed to update the REDS plan from 2025 to a new end date of 2030, given the catalyzing impact that READI can have on regional economic development.
The Get READI South Bend – Elkhart Region application development will move into the next phase of due diligence and development by the advisory committee chairs and South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership staff, with the goal of submitting final strategic initiative portfolios to the Steering Committee. The brick-and-mortar Regional Cities 2.0 projects will also be reviewed and prioritized by the Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the comprehensive plan will be presented at the August 17th Steering Committee and RDA meetings.
About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit SouthBendElkhart.org.