Officials work to make Wabash Valley a 21st Century Talent Region

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – This afternoon leaders from all over the Wabash Valley came together in an effort to strategize how to keep and attract talented employees in the region’s work force.

After being recommended as a 21st Century Talent Region, officials believe earning the distinction would help the Wabash Valley transform into a hub for economic and educational growth.

Jack Hess, Executive Director of Civic Lab, travels all over Indiana helping regions hone and develop local talent.

“Talent marches with it’s feet. So how do we make this place attractive to those individuals. Development is all about educational attainment,” he explained. “Raising the actual education levels that they have so they’re really better prepared for the unique jobs and opportunities here within the region.”

Officials believe this 21st Century Talent stamp of approval will grow the community from the inside out, and attract people from out of state.

“We complete the application then we will be recognized as a talent region,” said Dottie King, President of Saint Mary of the Woods College and Chair of the 21st Century Talent Committee. “So we just have to come up with a strategic plan and begin to operate that.”

During the meeting officials drew up lists of stakeholders in the area such as schools, hospitals and manufacturing corporations.

 “It has such a rich history particularly in manufacturing. We also know in hospitality and tourism,” explained Hess. “But they have probably some of the states best educational assets, their net exporter.”

By focusing energy on the highest ranking talent regions, officials hope to raise the standard of living in the Wabash Valley.

“I really believe we have a lot of positive momentum going on,” said King. “And what this allows us to do is recognize it and pull it together.”

Committee members are still in the planning stages of the initiative.

They hope to implement a plan within the next year before applying for the distinction.

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