An initiative comprised of representatives from nine east central Indiana counties on Monday unveiled a three-year strategic plan. The East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative said the plan focuses on five areas aimed at improving talent development in the region.
The 2022-2025 East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative Strategic Plan was developed by its guiding team, which is comprised of representatives from Eastern Indiana Works, the George and Frances Ball Foundation, and the ECI Regional Partnership, among others.
The ECITC said the five strategic pillars, which are designed to “articulate long-term ideals to guide more immediate work,” include:
- Equitable child development and education
- Equipped adults
- Employers of choice
- Elevation of the Forge Your Path talent attraction initiative
Among the specific goals, the plan seeks to ensure all children from birth to age five are supported so they are prepared for kindergarten by improving the quality of childcare providers and ensuring more public schools are offering preschool options.
The plan also aims to ensure adults are motivated to pursue fulfilling work by removing barriers, increasing average wages, and aligning future employment needs and educational offerings to meet future demand.
Along with the unveiling of the plan, the collaborative announced the appointment of Ashley Surpas as the new associate director for Regional Initiatives at Ball State University. The group says Surpas will oversee the university’s role as the backbone organization for the ECITC.
The ECITC said Surpas joined the university’s Office of Community Engagement in October and has served as the primary point of contact for the collaborative, providing strategic, project management and infrastructure support.
“Individuals must be able to meet their basic needs—food, clothing, health services, child care, safety—before turning their attention to certifications, degrees, and career advancement,” Surpas said in written remarks. “These are very real concerns in our region and impact even our youngest residents. We need the involvement of educators, healthcare providers, non-profits, chambers of commerce, business leaders, child care specialists, politicians, public safety, grassroots advocacy groups … there is a role for everyone.”
Surpas previously spent 10 years as economic development coordinator for the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance.
The ECITC is a regional collective impact initiative that serves Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Rush, and Wayne counties. You can connect to the full strategic plan by clicking here.