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WIRED: Purdue development conference highlights workforce September 13, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Innovation, WIRED, Workforce.
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Like most of the WIRED-related reading I’ve seen, the concept of regionalism in economic development and workforce planning is being emphasized in Indiana. The Purdue Center for Regional Development held a conference last week to build on this concept – and to highlight its role as the coordinating entity for Indiana’s WIRED effort. MidwestBusiness.com tells us more about the workforce aspect:

Raising the bar on workforce issues was a predominant theme particularly in light of the fact that Indiana is making no secret of its collective desire to be more competitive globally. To this end, Paul Mitchell from the office of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels moderated a panel that focused on north central Indiana’s Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative.

Mitchell briefly outlined how Indiana had gone through what he termed a “stealth decline” in which the state fell from a superior per-capita position in the 1950s to 91 percent of the U.S. average by the early 21st century. He said the current aim of the Daniels administration is to reverse that trend.

The WIRED initiative is actually national in scope and is run from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration. The $15 million Indiana version takes advantage of technical assistance from a cadre of experts.

The Feds apparently were impressed by what they saw, both at Purdue and in Indiana:

“These people are brilliant,” said William Kittredge, a senior official from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Development Administration (EDA), referring to the Purdue organizers. “There is some serious take-away information here that can make a difference in long-term development.” … The EDA’s Kittredge, whose visit to Indianapolis was his first, added: “It’s amazing at what is going on here in Indiana.” He vowed to return to the Hoosier capital soon.

Here’s another link to media on the conference, this one from Inside Indiana Business. It focusses more on the Indiana Humanities Council and their concurrent program regarding the role of regional partnerships to advance community and economic development.

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