In 1965, the West Central Indiana Economic Development District Inc. (WCIEDD) was established to increase economic growth and community development. The region originally included Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties, with Putnam County joining in 1973. These same six counties were designated Indiana’s Economic Growth Region-7 in 2005 when the state updated regional boundaries to reflect population and economic changes.
In December 2010, the West Central Indiana economic development officials and business leaders created Accelerate West Central Indiana Economic Development Corp. (Accelerate) in order to increase economic growth and prosperity.
Accelerate promotes economic development in West Central Indiana through coordinated site consultant and industrial broker sales trips, media placement and marketing initiatives.
In January 2012, Indiana State University launched the Rural-Urban Entrepreneurship Development Institute (RUEDI) to serve as an engagement, research and learning platform. RUEDI collaborates with local government officials, educational institutions and businesses to improve the economic stability of small towns and rural communities.
The West Central Leadership Alliance has been created by WCIEDD, Accelerate and REUDI to facilitate communication and community engagement among organizations, economic developers and the workforce throughout Indiana’s Economic Growth Region-7.
By 2025, West Central Indiana will be a culturally engaged citizenry that promotes a philosophy of lifelong learning supporting an economic vibrancy driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.
To create a regional collaboration of public officials, community, economic and workforce development professionals, K-16 educators, and other civic and private industry leaders within West Central Indiana to examine workforce skills and economic interests across the region to develop strategies focusing on long range development, use and maximization of regional assets.
- Increase awareness and understanding of ongoing economic factors within the Region;
- Identify opportunities to affect positive change within the Region;
- Develop strategies to enhance workforce skills and accelerate business expansion and job growth;
- Organize local business, education, public officials, and community leaders to implement strategies;
- Mobilize and leverage local resources along with attracting private, state and federal funding to launch strategies and sustain initiatives long term.
The Leadership Alliance identified four primary areas of interest in which they would focus their efforts:
Economic Analysis – the Leadership Alliance will maintain a network of data resources to allow for a systematic and on-going review of socio-economic data to aide in identifying opportunities, decision making and benchmarking
Education and Workforce Training – collaborate with local workforce development organizations and educational institutions to support initiatives that assist residents to overcome barriers in identifying and entering career pathways that fulfill their individual personal interests while providing sustainable employment within the Region
Engagement – increase relevant interaction, connectivity and collaboration among regional stakeholders to build upon existing community capacity to inspire action for the common good for all the citizenry in the Region
Entrepreneurship – increase access to the critical tools and networks necessary to develop and nurture an entrepreneurial culture allowing for a continuum of support to the entrepreneur and small business owner.