Forum to Focus on Growing Micropolitans

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Tom Guevara is the director of the IU Public Policy Institute. (photo courtesy IUPUI) Tom Guevara is the director of the IU Public Policy Institute. (photo courtesy IUPUI)

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will be in Indianapolis Wednesday for a policy forum focusing on "micropolitans" in Indiana. The event aims to help smaller communities expand their economies and innovation-led job growth. Indiana University Public Policy Institute Director Tom Guevara tells Inside INdiana Business it is a "rare opportunity" for Indiana to learn from the nation's premiere research institute.

Guevara says the event will talk about how Indiana's smaller cities and towns can do a better job of being connected, utilizing their talents and abilities, and focusing on what might work better for them. He says often times, communities focus more on bringing in big business rather than growing business from within.

"Growing businesses can be done as well as bringing businesses in and sometimes we focus too much on recruitment and retention," said Guevara. "Those are both very important, but it's also important to figure out what do we currently do well and how can we add more value to what we're doing? In creating more value, then we can sell more product and create more jobs."

Micropolitan areas are defined as those with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 people, such as Noblesville, Jasper, Greenfield and Martinsville. Guevara says Wendesday's forum will talk about some of the potential solutions to growing the economies of these smaller communities, such as utilizing the state's university system and creating networks of cities and towns or regions.

Guevara says Indiana has a lot of assets, but we need to learn how to use them differently and more productively. "We have to think about, for example, what the latest research tells us about this, what are people who are at the forefront of innovation are doing, and we'll bring those kinds of experts here to us in Indianapolis and we'll need to sit there and take what we learn from (the forum) and begin to apply it."

The forum, "Advancing Economic Development and Workforce Readiness in Micropolitan Areas," will take place at Hine Hall on the IUPUI campus. Governor Eric Holcomb will kick off the event, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

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