Indiana to analyze economic transformation in other cities

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation plans to increase Indiana’s economic vibrancy by analyzing the economies of regional cities and applying similar strategies across Indiana.

This study comes after the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation completed a comparable study for Bloomington in 2011.

The IEDC peer-city study was initially requested by Governor Pence and subsequently mandated in House Enrolled Act 1035, which was passed by the 2013 General Assembly. The deadline for the study is Oct. 1.

“Our goal is to partner with regional cities to create the best possible conditions for people to move here, stay here and grow their businesses here,” IEDC President Eric Doden said.

One of the primary objectives of the study is to attract talented individuals to Indiana, but before the state can procure and retain skilled workers, it has to attract jobs.

Doden said he believes one way to accomplish this is by adopting business-friendly practices.

“The speed of doing business, deciding what kind of tax abatements will be provided and having a fair and equitable tax structure are things that we consider business-friendly policies,” Doden said.

Instead of focusing on attracting a specific type of industry, the IEDC hopes the state can attract a variety of companies and become a hub of prospering businesses.

Doden cited the expansion of the marketing technology sector in Indianapolis as an example of the type of progress it wants to achieve with the study.

“In Indianapolis, we’ve seen a big push toward marketing technology,” Doden said. “We would never have predicted this growth 10 years ago, but these companies brought the skill set that motivated this growth.”

Doden said he believes the ultimate goal of the study is to create an economically flourishing state people are proud to call home.

“People want to live in a top-tier quality of place where they can be proud of their communities,” Doden said. “We want people to think of Indiana when they’re deciding where to locate their companies and the jobs that come along with them.”

BEDC operates independently of the IEDC, and it conducted a similar study in 2011.

It analyzed college towns like Boulder, Colo., and Champaign, Ill., to determine how it could enhance its own economic vitality.

According to BEDC Program Manager Dana Palazzo, Bloomington has fostered economic stimulation by capitalizing on its strengths and focusing on core areas such as the technology and life science sectors.

For example, the BEDC worked with the City of Bloomington to create the Bloomington Technology Partnership, an organization that provides talent recruitment and networking opportunities for individuals in the tech field.

Upon receiving a grant from the community foundation, the BTP has partnered with Monroe County Public Library to create Bloomington Code School, a program where county residents can learn computer coding at no cost.

“This type of talent attraction is something unique to the BEDC,” Palazzo said.

When it comes to procuring and retaining workers, it’s the city’s vibrant atmosphere and proximity to a world-class educational institution that Palazzo said she believes should reel in prospective residents.

“We believe that we can attract talent based on the quality of life in Bloomington,” Palazzo said. “By marketing Bloomington as the ideal place to live, we can appeal to talented and skilled individuals.”

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