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Indiana's Report Card

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Posted by: Jeff Rea
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Students are anxiously awaiting their final report cards, which are used to determine the quality of their schoolwork.

But the end of our school days doesn’t necessarily mean the end of report cards. In our jobs, an annual evaluation is kind of like a report card, and our companies often track their progress versus their competition.

Report cards are even a necessary tool to track the progress of the state of Indiana and its future growth opportunities.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce issued its Indiana Vision 2025 report card at a North Central Indiana Regional Forum in South Bend. The report tracks where the state is making progress on the economic development front and what areas require further attention. Similar presentations will be given around the state in five other regions over the next month.

Indiana Vision 2025 is a comprehensive economic development plan that was launched in 2012. It was developed after extensive input from business and community leaders from every part of the state. The effort aims to provide leadership, direction and a long-range economic development strategy for the state of Indiana. Since its launch, it has helped guide public policy decisions and legislative agendas.

Every two years the Indiana Chamber examines key metrics covering progress in four critical areas: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure and a Dynamic and Creative Culture. The 2017 Report Card highlights metrics in each of these four areas using the most up-to-date data possible. The report ranks Indiana nationally (1 to 50) in 62 key economic measurements.

So how are we doing? Indiana improved its ranking (from the 2015 Report Card) compared with other states in 36 metrics (up from 28 two years ago); it declined in 16 rankings (three less than in 2015); and remained the same or there was no updated data available in eight metrics (12 in 2015).

Generally, the state has done really well on things like our regulatory environment, science and tech degrees as a percentage of all degrees, reading and math scores, state and local government spending, university business spinoffs, and small business policy index.

The state hasn’t fared as well in areas like the generation of clean energy, the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index, urban industrial property tax rates, net job creation for new companies, populations with associate degree or other credential, and the percent of population with science and engineering bachelor degrees. You can view the full report at www.indianachamber.com.

The north central Indiana region is lagging behind the state in areas like education attainment (those with an associate or bachelor degree or higher), the number of people with STEM bachelor degrees, the number of people above poverty level, per capita income and net domestic migration.

Growing the economy, adding jobs and new capital investment and attracting, developing and growing new businesses is hard work. And it’s something every other community, region and state is doing. It requires a lot of partners, broad community buy-in, and a sustained effort.

The Indiana Vision 2025 plan has made great progress in its first five years, but much work remains ahead. Our region will play a critical role in the success of the plan; it’s up to all of us to roll up our sleeves and get to work on improving the performance of the region.

Source: South Bend Tribune

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