A new legislative session has begun at the Indiana Statehouse. While TechPoint is a private, non-partisan non-profit that is not a lobbying organization, decisions made at the Statehouse can impact our tech community so we do make efforts to inform legislators with data like that from the Tech Workforce Report and about tech policy that would help or hurt you.
Here is the public policy agenda that we released. We emailed, printed and delivered it to all 150 legislators. Take a look at it and feel free to offer thoughts or suggestions in the comments below.
Attracting and retaining talent is a major priority for all of you in growing tech companies, and thanks to great universities in our state, it’s an area where stand to excel. Programs like Xtern, Xpat and the Orr Fellowship help us capitalize. Critical for attracting and retaining talent are creating and marketing remarkable places where people want to live. That has been a point of emphasis when talking to the governor’s team and to legislators.
The Pence Administration’s Indiana Regional Cities Initiative focuses on placemaking, and we at TechPoint and CICP have been collaborating with them to help make it an optimized plan for attracting talent that our state’s tech companies need to grow.
Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), has been leading the charge. We asked Eric some questions about the initiative.
What is the “big idea” of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and what has been done so far?
“This year at the direction of Governor Pence, the IEDC studied the nation’s powerhouse regional economies. From small towns to big cities, we visited communities across the country that in recent years have transformed their economies from sleepy and stagnant to vibrant and growing. We went in wanting to know what they did and how we can replicate it. That’s now become the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, a push to discover how Indiana’s regional economies can drive their own economic renaissances through talent attraction and quality of place investment.
It is the state’s goal to amplify our quality of place message, inspire regional collaboration and invest in excellent local plans that come from city and regional leaders working together. Our hope is that local communities create their own regional visions and action plans to enhance and build dynamic cities and regions.”
What were some highlights of your visits to cities and towns around the country this summer?
“After visiting the benchmark cities across the country, we felt energized and encouraged about what this initiative could do for Indiana. Take Austin, Texas for example. About ten years ago it saw a rapid decline in employment and economic growth. This catalyzed development of a private sector-led plan called Opportunity Austin, focused on industry diversification, as well as a Mayor’sTask Force on Economic Development that produced recommendations for the city.
As a result of their efforts, the city of Austin alone saw 36 new attraction projects last year. To put it in perspective, the entire state of Indiana saw a total of 54 attraction projects in the same time. We saw that bold leadership and bold vision, which started in the cities and in the regions, spurred the biggest changes.”
What did the visits reinforce to you about Indiana and opportunity here?
“One element of this initiative involves demonstrating to a larger audience that Indiana is full of diverse and exciting communities. Over the past decade, Indiana has positioned itself as a destination for business across the country and around the globe. Now it’s time to show Indiana’s pursuit of excellence in quality of place, its focus on the next generation of talent and the regional collaboration that will propel it to reach its ultimate objective: to be known globally as a destination for talent.”
How can Indiana’s tech community help?
“Indiana’s tech industry is poised to help lead our state’s regions in that economic renaissance. Hoosier tech companies are pushing the envelope — your business is to be forward-thinking. You’re already dreaming and building tomorrow’s innovations, so just keep building on that. Help get the word out that Hoosier tech entrepreneurs are doing remarkable things, and that will attract more people looking for what’s in the water here.
Each community we studied this summer had a buzz. And that buzz wasn’t necessarily led by the people you’d think to be the ‘traditional’ leaders of a community. Tech workers can help lead the future of our Hoosier communities by going out and being enthusiastic. You’re already wired to think differently, so speak up. Share your dynamic ideas, then propose ways to bring them to life. By volunteering your skills and your passion, you can launch a domino effect, with others catching the buzz and continuing it beyond any of the wildest ideas we could ever dream up.”
What can we expect from the IEDC with place marketing?
“Watch out for more news about Governor Pence’s Regional Cities Initiative in the new year, and visit IndianaRegionalCities.com for updates. The IEDC is helping spearhead the Regional Cities Initiative for the governor, but really this is something that each region of our state must own. Regions define their boundaries and identities—that can’t come from us. Look for the big ideas to come from the regional level and keep an eye out as more details develop while we’re working with the General Assembly during the upcoming legislative session.”
Share your thoughts or suggestions on the 2015 Technology Agenda in the comments section below.
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