The Northwest Indiana Forum is partnering with a Seattle-based consultant to develop an economic development plan for the region. The more than $200,000 collaboration with TIP Strategies is expected to be complete in August. The organization says the effort will include seven counties.

Chief Executive Officer Heather Ennis says the Forum "will embark on a region economic development plan that will craft a true and pragmatic play book for economic development of the seven county region. This will not be a plan for the Forum, but rather will be a plan for the region as a whole."

The organization says funding for the plan was gathered through contributions from more than 60 businesses, organizations and foundations throughout The Region. Lake, Porter, Newton, LaPorte, Starke, Pulaski and Jasper counties will be the focus of what the Forum describes as an "actionable" economic development plan.

The work will involve economic development strategy, regional vision, regional business and municipal partner integration, collaboration of funding sources for the greatest impact, understanding global opportunities, talent attraction and marketing and communication.