The Northwest Indiana Forum and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. have approved nearly $3.2 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funding for six projects. The agency says the projects represent more than $11 million in total investment.
The Northwest Indiana Forum was one of five regions to receive the maximum $50 million allocation from the $500 million READI program in December.
The six projects approved for funding include:
- Kingsbury Industrial Park Railroad Bridge Improvement – La Porte County – $601,600
The project will create an active switch and access to new and existing rail improvements at LaPorte’s Kingsbury Industrial Park for CN Railroad. KIP currently has some 50 businesses operating within and more than 2,000 acres available for future industrial and logistics development.
- Ivanhoe South Community Development & Education Initiative – Lake County – $977,000
The funding will be used to provide access amenities for “safe, enjoyable, and educational experiences” at Ivanhoe South Nature Preserve in Gary. As part of the project, new sidewalks, safety and parking amenities, and low-impact structures for gathering space and community programming will be installed.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Business Training Program – Urban League of Northwest Indiana – $282,000
The Urban League of Northwest Indiana plans to use the funding to provide DEI training for 16 organizations. The training aims to provide employees “with tools that identify and address systematic barriers to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
- Employer Upskilling Project – Center of Workforce Innovations – $564,000
The Center of Workforce Innovations in Valparaiso will use the funding for the Employer Upskilling Project, which is designed to provide education and training to improve workers’ education and employment opportunities. The center says it will work close with the Ivy Tech Office of Career Coaching and Employer Connections to align training programs with employer needs.
- READY NWI Education Alignment Program – $282,000
The Center of Workforce Innovations will use this funding to sustain the Regional Education and Employer Alliance for Developing Youth (READY) in Northwest Indiana coalition, which is aims to prepare high school graduates for furthering their education through degrees or other certifications.
- Jobs for America’s Graduates Expansion – $470,000
Finally, the Center of Workforce Innovations will use this funding to expand the JAG program in the region. The program provides a multi-year effort for at-risk high school juniors and seniors to complete high school and move on to postsecondary education.
“Center of Workforce Innovations is thrilled to receive READI dollars to expand our programming and provide more youth and adults with training and pathways to high demand jobs,” Center of Workforce Innovations CEO Lisa Daugherty said in written remarks. “We appreciate NWI Forum’s leadership with these projects.”
The Northwest Indiana Forum region covers Lake, Porter, La Porte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties.