The state has named west central Indiana the next 21st Century Talent Region. The designation recognizes communities that “commit to using a systems approach to attract, develop, and connect Hoosier talent.” Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce President Kristin Craig says the designation was a key priority in the “See You in Terre Haute 2025” plan unveiled last year, which aims to boost collaborative partnerships, economic development and funding opportunities throughout the six-county region.
Indiana Secretary for Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo says the goal of the designation is to support the region as it works toward its goals.
“Today is really a recognition of the work that has gone into developing that plan and already some of the implementation steps that are underway, but really also noting it as a milestone and not the finish line of our work that is to come,” said Milo.
Specifically, the designation was awarded to West Central 2025, an initiative created by the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The region detailed its key priorities as a result of receiving the 21st Century Talent Region designation.
The priorities include building individual community teams focused on leveraging placemaking strategies and related performance goals, examining data to determine next steps in achieving “equitable opportunities” for the region’s entire population and growing partnerships across the region.
The region says it will analyze available data and work to set its goals for talent attraction and connection milestones by the end of this year. Additionally, the region is looking to reduce population decline to a “negligible number” and raise per capital personal income to 85% of the state average by 2025.
“The goals we are collectively tackling are the critical factors in moving our individual counties, as well as a region as a whole forward,” said Craig. “This conversation is especially important given the impact of COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to consolidate efforts and use every advantage we have to ensure West Central Indiana continues to be a growing, thriving region in the state.”
The west central Indiana region encompasses Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties.
Milo says the goal of the designation is to support the region as it works toward its goals.