Officials to Detail Regional Development Initiatives

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State and regional officials will detail development initiatives in the southwest central Indiana region, thanks to a $42 million boost from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. The grants will support initiatives including an education and work force plan and an Applied Research Institute near the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. 

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Television, Tina Peterson, interim CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc., said they have a great opportunity to "take advantage of some exceptional assets, a very motivated citizenry and to really do something quite transformative." Peterson called the grants a "game changer" for the region. 

The initiatives include:

  • Implementation of an education and work force plan and a regional opportunity fund for quality-of-place investments funded by a $25,870,000 grant to Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. ROI will implement the plan focused on connecting education to industry, creating a native work force that is prepared for the demands of employers. ROI will also implement a comprehensive and ongoing assessment of occupational needs within the region, initially focused on life sciences, advanced manufacturing and national security and defense sectors.
  • ROI will also create and oversee a Regional Opportunity Fund (ROF), seeded by grant funds, to serve as a source of support for strategic planning and investment in quality of place development that has the potential to benefit the entire region.
  • Establishment and development of an Applied Research Institute (ARI) to be located near the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. Initially, it will be led by an advisory board comprising representatives of Crane, research universities in Indiana, and other corporate and institutional partners. Start-up expenses will be funded through a $16,225,000 grant to CICP Foundation, which supports the charitable and educational programs and activities of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP). The ARI will serve as a collaborative research facility for more efficient technology transfer and commercialization for industry, NSWC Crane, Indiana’s research universities, government, and entrepreneurs. Through the ARI, these groups will leverage more than $400 million worth of state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment within NSWC Crane, as well as $25 million worth of existing labs and facilities at the Battery Innovation Center and WestGate Academy.
  • Planning activities funded by $122,600 grant to Indiana University Foundation to explore the potential development of a Rural Center at Indiana University to study and address societal challenges found in rural communities.

"I challenge you to find another part of the country that has the diversity of relevant industry sectors, the breadth of world-class assets like Crane and Indiana University, and a quality of life that embraces both the charms of small-town America and the sophistication of global manufacturing and technology," said Peterson. "To stand out nationally and claim our place as a center for innovation, talent, and possibility, we will work collectively as a region to achieve true economic and community prosperity that will benefit our 11 counties and the State of Indiana."

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