Early Friday morning, the Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent, Center of Workforce Innovations, and various other Indiana state officials gathered in a Zoom meeting to announce that Northwest Indiana has been named the next 21st Century Talent Region. This special honor is given to communities who have collaborated in efforts to propel economic growth in their respective areas.
“Today is a celebration of the work of numerous organizations and over 100 people who have dedicated their efforts to improving the talent pipeline in creating new and better opportunities for students and adults to develop the skills necessary for the 21st century economy,” said Linda Woloshansky, President and CEO of Center of Workforce Innovations.
In collaboration with the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, the Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI) collaborated with the Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent to meet the needs and wants of the people of Northwest Indiana, composed of Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties. As a new 21st Century Talent Region, the CWI can now connect with the Office of Career Connections and Talent to receive assistance in organizing efforts to attract, develop, connect and retain talent in Northwest Indiana.
CWI knows exactly how to provide and facilitate solutions and implementation processes for the challenges associated with aligning workforce skills to meet the needs of employers and elevating talent for various positions located all over Northwest Indiana.
“The goal of the 21st Century Talent Regions is to bring all of the pieces together to best collaborate on the cultivation of growth within the state,” said Blair Milo, Secretary of Career Connections and Talent. “State agencies, regional partnerships, and community partnerships between different sectors of business, education, and non-profit are all coming together to unite the Region and also attract others to Northwest Indiana.”
Milo further commented that this milestone acts as an extension of her past work as Mayor of La Porte and celebrates the efforts, both past, and present, of her and her partners in cultivating and developing important talent in the Northwest Indiana region.
“Through 21st Century Talent Regions, we can hone in a little more specifically on the talent side of Northwest Indiana’s population,” Milo said. “We are working with all of the regions across the state of Indiana to measure our achievements and accomplish our goals, especially in attracting populations, increasing education attainment levels, and increasing median household income.”
Between January and August of 2020 alone, there have been 12 projects with 1,660 new projected job opportunities coming with them and over $122 million of investment. Talent in the Northwest Indiana region is more important than ever in 2020, and those working in this collaboration want it to be a place not only where people can survive, but also where they can thrive, be happy, and energized.
A proclamation by Governor Eric Holcomb states that the 21st Century Talent Region’s five goals are:
- Maintaining the dashboard that will allow regional partners to connect and cultivate an in-depth, consistent collaboration via mutual milestones and practices.
- Analyzing data and identify baseline and progress metrics for regional talent attraction and connection by the summer of 2021
- Adapting a focus across the region to narrow the achievement gap for minority and underserved high school students by increasing graduation rates by 3 percent each year
- Increasing employer engagement with the education workforce systems in high demand industry sectors to be measured by increasing the number of internship and apprenticeship opportunities by 10 percent each year
- Increasing the number of high school graduates with post-secondary credentials by 5 percent each year
“Having these connections and resources are so valuable for keeping us all motivated and ensuring that we are accomplishing our goals,” Milo said. “I am incredibly proud of all of the work that everyone across Northwest Indiana has put into this and I am excited to continue working alongside all of our partners.”
For more information about the 21st Century Talent Region, please visit the state’s website here https://www.in.gov/cct/21CTR.htm.
To learn more about the Center of Workforce Innovations and their work to meet the workforce-related needs of Northwest Indiana, please visit www.cwicorp.com.