Several more regions throughout Indiana have announced plans to apply for funding through the recently-announced Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative. The $500 million program calls on communities to collaborate on projects designed to attract and retain talent.

Governor Eric Holcomb detailed plans for the READI program in May. As part of the effort, each region could receive up to $50 million in funding based on their regional development plans submitted to the state.

The initiative has spurred new regional teams to come together to apply for funding. Among them is Accelerate Rural Indiana, which consists of the cities of Shelbyville, Greensburg, Rushville and Batesville, as well as Shelby, Rush and Decatur counties. The group says it is focused on delivering growth to what it calls one of Indiana’s greatest assets: its “rural frontier.” 

“Our similarities as communities as well as our geographical alignment along I-74 make our region a natural location for future success,” said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun. “Our respective strengths complement each others’ goals and ambitions and, with this more formalized approach, we will become a hotbed for growth and investment.”

The counties of Montgomery, Boone, Putnam, and Hendricks are also forming a regional partnership. The group says it is evaluating proposals from consultants to assist with the creation of a strategic plan.

“Partnering with Boone, Hendricks, and Putnam Counties creates an intentional brain trust to address workforce challenges and quality of life opportunities in a unique way that aligns with our local needs,” said Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.

The East Central Indiana Regional Partnership is representing the seven-county region. The organization, which covers Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph and Wayne counties, says it plans to convene businesses and other anchor institution such as Ball State University to create its regional development plan.

Additionally, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership has already begun accepting proposals for projects as part of its regional development plan. The region, which is formally going by the name Get READI South Bend-Elkhart in its push for funding, says it is looking for projects that focus on diversity, equity & inclusion; entrepreneurship; education and workforce; industry growth; and/or talent attraction and retention.

“The South Bend – Elkhart region has a strong track record of performing well under pressure, and this timeline is no exception,” said Regina Emberton, chief executive officer of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership. “We are excited to see what communities across the South Bend – Elkhart region have in mind to shape a better future that advances economic growth, attracts and retains top talent.”

Last month, several counties and cities in central Indiana under the White River name detailed their plan to apply for funding. Meanwhile, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority is accepting proposals for projects through July 16.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says READI is expected to generate at least $2 billion in local public, private and philanthropic match funding.