INDIANAPOLIS – While the health care crisis of a lifetime has impacted Indiana’s well-being in countless ways, it has also provided an opportunity to meet a critical need in reshaping the state’s economic future.
That’s why the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation have launched the Accelerating Indiana Vision 2025+ initiative, featuring immediate economic recovery initiatives and a new economic vision plan for the state.
Indiana Vision 2025 has provided a blueprint for enhancing the state’s economic competitiveness since its introduction in 2012. It followed the Economic Vision 2010 plan that debuted in 2000. But more action must take place – and at a quicker pace – for Indiana to be a business, workforce and community leader.
“It’s not enough for Indiana to simply ‘recover’ and try to get back to where it was prior to March 2020,” says Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber president and CEO. “Standing still in today’s world is falling behind. We must elevate our performance and help ensure a future that is filled with opportunities for success for businesses and individuals.”
A new statewide task force conducted its initial meeting on Monday. The 37-person group will focus on developing near-term programs and timely research based on the events of the past year as well as craft a new long-term vision. Similar task forces – with business, government and community leaders – were essential to developing the prior economic development plans.
Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Ginovus and a nationally recognized economic development leader, is chairing the task force. Gigerich and several other members of the current group were part of the original Indiana Vision 2025 effort. Many newcomers will also bring additional perspectives.
“This is the perfect time for Indiana to adjust to further take advantage of its assets and, most importantly, shore up its areas in need of improvement,” Gigerich states. “The Indiana Chamber has a successful history of leading the planning and execution of such efforts. I look forward to working with this distinguished group and the Chamber team to continue that tradition.”
The $2 million Accelerating Indiana Vision 2025+ will go much further than the visioning plan. Among the action steps:
- Major research studies – including energizing Indiana’s entrepreneurial and business start-up climate; automation and artificial intelligence impacts and opportunities; and K-12 education, including learning loss and education innovations
- Rapid, targeted research and action plans – shorter-term policy and program evaluation; economic recovery dashboard with targeted key metrics; and employer workforce and public opinion surveys as examples
- Employer and employee programs and services – building on existing offerings from the Indiana Chamber and its affiliates
The Indiana Chamber’s Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) and its Indiana Workforce Recovery program are currently expanding their already successful initiatives in worker mental health and substance abuse intervention. WCI is also leading the way in communicating with the business community about COVID-19 vaccinations and the many factors that must be considered in successfully assisting employees.
Similarly, the Indiana Chamber is working to educate and inform on the racial discrimination and economic inequities that impact the workplace and hinder economic output every day. A series of webinars, special events and conferences began in 2020 and continue this year.
“We don’t pretend to have all the answers to solve racial challenges,” Brinegar shares. “What we will do is build upon the extensive programming already being presented to inform and educate businesses throughout the state on diversity and inclusion, and aggregate the data needed to help formulate the next steps for positive policies and programs.”
Remarks from Accelerating Indiana Vision 2025+ investors:
“For years, the Indiana Chamber Foundation has helped shape public policy in the state. As we emerge from this pandemic, that leadership has never been more important. We are fortunate that Indiana is very well-positioned to rebound economically, and the Chamber Foundation can help provide the vision and strategy that shapes our state’s future,” said Stan Pinegar, president, Duke Energy Indiana
“As a leading energy company in northern Indiana, NIPSCO is committed to the communities we serve and proud to support the Indiana Chamber’s Accelerating Indiana Vision 2025+. We’re also working toward a brighter future for Indiana, with our electric generation transformation focused on strengthening our local economies for the long term by delivering the best cost, cleanest electric supply mix available while maintaining reliability, diversity, and flexibility to meet the needs of customers. NIPSCO is proud to stand beside the Indiana Chamber Foundation as it drives Indiana’s statewide economic recovery and strategic vision forward,” said Mike Hooper, president, NIPSCO
“Our state’s future relies on an educated and talented workforce. The Chamber’s previous economic development efforts have emphasized advancements in these areas and this new initiative will do more of the same. It’s also critical that as many regions – and the people within them – thrive in order for the state to succeed at the highest level,” said Larry Garatoni, Garatoni-Smith Family Foundation
Learn more about Accelerating Indiana Vision 2025+, including the task force members and investors, and Indiana Vision 2025 at www.indianachamber.com/foundation.