FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has presented a new, comprehensive playbook working to provide a guide for continued economic growth across the state. 

Coordinated through the Indiana Chamber Foundation, the Indiana Prosperity 2035 — A Vision for Economic Acceleration is the third phase in a decades-long effort to improve and transform the economic success in Indiana. 

“It’s worth stressing that Indiana Prosperity 2035 is more than an update. It’s a new vision and an acceleration to push Indiana’s economy to even greater heights. Achieving the goals in the plan will benefit all Hoosiers, both businesses and citizens alike,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

Through a volunteer task force made up of researchers, business leaders, coalition partners, and issue and policy experts and led by Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Ginovus in Fishers, the economic plan was developed over the course of 18 months. 

The Indiana Prosperity 2035 plan focuses on a broad range of important issues and opportunities for the state, but it also focuses on identifying key needs and weak points for Indiana as part of a plan to advocate for action and continued improvement.

“Currently, Indiana ranks as one of the best states to locate and operate a business, but its small business start-up rates lag much of the nation. In the last decade, productivity in the state’s advanced industries has lagged and fallen below the national average,” Brinegar says. “Indiana also is the state most at risk to industry and job disruptions from automation and artificial intelligence transitions. Those are all challenges that can and must be met head-on,” Brinegar said.

Brinegar also noted that while addressing all aspects within the plan is significant, a particular emphasis is on significant improvements to Indiana’s workforce and education.

“If Indiana excelled in addressing every other goal outlined in this plan and failed to make significant progress on the workforce and K-12 education goals, we are doubtful that Indiana’s economy will hold its place – let alone accelerate at the pace of improvement necessary,” Brinegar said. “The state’s relatively low educational attainment rate should be a red alert regarding its ability to evolve and succeed in a rapidly changing, talent-based economy.”

Brinegar continues, explaining that the plan is working towards facilitating a dramatic shift in thinking in regard to regional strategies in economic development, infrastructure, education, workforce strategies, and more.

The Indiana Prosperity 2035 plan is based on six pillars in the plan including:

  • Workforce – A focus on increasing the value Hoosiers place on education and continual improvement in skills in an ever-changing economic and jobs environment; significantly increasing attraction and retention of talent to the state; and increasing the labor force participation rates of working-age Hoosiers.
  • K-12 Education – Significant, arguably dramatic increases in the proficiency of Indiana students in math and language arts; expanding pre-K educational programs; increasing educational opportunities and achievement for minority students; and addressing the serious problems in smaller schools and districts around the state.
  • Economic Growth, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship – Preserve and enhance Indiana’s strong business and regulatory climate; continue to drive expansion in high-tech industries and the implementation of new technologies in our economy; significantly improve the state’s business start-up ratings, particularly for minority entrepreneurs; and move the state to one of the most productive for workers and enterprises in the nation.
  • Superior Infrastructure and Energy – Investments are necessary to continue to improve the state’s infrastructure to not only meet current needs but to strategically position the state and regions within the state for economic development opportunities and the implementation of new technologies.
  • Quality of Place Strategies – Talent attraction and retention are critical in this economy and even more so in the rapidly evolving one of the future. Promote, invest, and implement regional partnerships around the quality of place investments; lead the Midwest in population growth and stabilization in middle-size communities; improve air and water quality; drive access to affordable housing.
  • Healthy, Prosperous Communities and Citizens – Tackle the state’s very poor health and welfare ratings by reducing smoking, obesity, and substance abuse crises; improve access to quality public health services; contain health care costs; and increase the “health” of the state’s democratic institutions through greater civics education and engagement by people in their communities.