Talent development programs land READI funding
A pair of talent development programs in the Indiana Uplands region have received a total of nearly $2.1 million in funding from the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, or READI.
Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. said the grants will be used to prepare high school students and adults for high-demand careers throughout the 11-county region.
The UpSkill Work and Learn program was awarded $729,373 in READI funding. The program, ROI said, provides students in grades 11 and 12 with paid employment, on-the-job experiences, classroom instruction, college credits and industry credentials.
In its first year, 27 students from six counties in the region, along with 11 employers, took part in the program. ROI said the READI funding will allow the program to scale to all parts of the region over the next three years.
“UpSkill is a unique model with all the right components to develop and retain talent in the Uplands region,” ROI Vice President of Talent Development Michi McClaine, said in a news release. “Providing a relevant bridge from high school into career pathways is a win-win for both students and the region’s key industry sectors, and ROI is excited to grow the program thanks to READI funding.”
Bloomington not-for-profit startup accelerator The Mill has also been awarded more than $1.3 million to expand its Code/IT Academy across 10 counties over the next three years.
The academy, a partnership among The Mill, ROI and Ivy Tech Community College, provides skill development in IT administration, web development and associated technologies. Participants can earn industry certifications, as well as professional support to secure a new job or advance within their existing career, according to ROI.
The academy is currently in its seventh cohort. With the READI funding, officials plan to expand to Washington and Crawford counties this year, with other counties being added over three years.
“Since 2020, Code/IT Academy has been growing Bloomington’s tech talent pool and helping diverse people access the high-paying jobs and career opportunities of the digital economy,” said Pat East, executive director of The Mill. “We’re thrilled that READI, ROI, and the IEDC are empowering us to bring this program to Hoosiers across the Indiana Uplands.
The Indiana Uplands Region received a $30 million allocation from the $500 million READI program in December 2021. The region covers Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties.