Regional Opportunity Initiatives Newsletter, February 2018

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In this issue:

  • CEO Update
  • Save the date for the ROI Annual Report to the Region
  • Occupational Needs Assessment underway
  • Thank you to our sector partners!
  • ROI education initiatives show impact in 2017
  • STEM Fellows tour IVY Tech labs, discover new ways to integrate technology in the classroom
  • Former GM executive joins ROI as sector specialist
  • Applied Research Institute is hiring
  • Upcoming events in Southwest Central Indiana

CEO Update

Tina Peterson photo and title
Tina Peterson
Chief Executive Officer

Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.

Every six months the ROI team assesses progress on the work that has been entrusted to us in Southwest Central Indiana. It allows us to reflect, to evaluate critically, and plan for next steps. Looking back at 2017, we were humbled by the level of regional engagement exhibited by individuals and organizations alike. In the last six months we have seen:

  • School districts and communities coming together to fundamentally rethink the relationship between educational success and economic prosperity.
  • Sector teams putting competitive realities aside to inform efforts that will benefit all employers.
  • Educators and business leaders collaboratively exploring and aligning regionally relevant K-12 and post-secondary pathways.
  • Employers, K-12, and post-secondary institutions working to create relevant internships for students and externships for educators.
  • STEM educators embracing their new roles as STEM champions within their elementary schools and advocates for STEM learning in their communities.
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane and Indiana University helping ROI design a cybersecurity challenge to prepare students for the burgeoning employment opportunities in cyber.
  • Community foundations engaging with out-of-school time providers to deploy STEM grants to support student learning.
  • Hundreds of individuals engaging through workshops and focus groups in the development of the SWCI reputation strategy.

As we now look ahead to 2018, we cannot help but to be excited and encouraged as a picture of impact and possibility comes into clearer focus. Initiatives will begin to mature and to expand to include more schools, more communities, and more employers.

In the coming months, we will see our first six Ready Schools districts develop implementation proposals for funding. The second cohort of STEM Fellows, Boot Camp educators, Ready Schools, and Pathway Institute developers will convene. ROI will initiate a regional housing study and a career awareness campaign, and launch a regional brand. Long anticipated, regional granting from the Opportunity Fund (ROF) will also be announced.

We are confident that 2018 will be an exceptional year of progress for our region. Please join us for the Annual Report to the Region on April 17 for updates, for announcements, and for a look ahead. We have much to discuss and to celebrate as a region. We also still have a great deal of work to do.

-Tina Peterson


Save the date for the ROI Annual Report to the Region

Aligned SWCI: Ready Schools, Ready Communities, Ready Employers

Save the date: April 17 ROI Annual Report to the Region

Save April 17 on your calendar! Join us for our second Annual Report to the Region at French Lick Resort. In addition to updates and announcements on ROI initiatives, we’d also like to invite you to join us for a series of afternoon workshops focused on ready schools, ready employers, and ready communities. We will also reveal the results of the Southwest Central Indiana competitive positioning and brand identity studies. Stay tuned for more details.


2018 Occupational Needs Assessment underway

Icons representating advanced manufacturing, life sciences, the national security and defense sectors.

ROI’s sector specialists are currently seeking input from representatives of more than 50 regional companies to discuss topics such as workforce strengths, pain points, talent attraction, growth plans, and current and future educational and skill set needs.

Information obtained will be used to develop the 2018 Occupational Needs Assessment, an update of the original assessment conducted in 2017. The assessment is conducted annually to ensure that the development of education and workforce strategies are aligned to the needs of employers in Southwest Central Indiana’s key industry sectors of life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing.

The ROI team would like to thank all those participating in the 2018 occupational needs assessment. Results of the assessment are used to define educational pathways, create internships, develop career awareness strategies, and ensure workforce strategies in the region are demand-driven and regionally relevant.

If you would like to be involved in the 2018 assessment, please contact us. The 2018 Occupational Needs Assessment will be available in April.


Thank you to our sector partners!

Sector partner logos

Sector collaboration and engagement continues to grow in Southwest Central Indiana! We’d like to thank our sector partners for participating in ROI programs and welcoming educators and interns into your facilities. These generous partners have participated in many ROI programs this year, including Educator Boot CampSTEM FellowsReady Schools Initiative, and Skill UP! Work and Learn IT Internships.

ROI is continuing to evolve its sector, education and workforce programs to create a workforce that is prepared for the demands of our regional employers. Contact us to learn how your company or organization can get involved in our sector teams.


ROI education initiatives show impact in 2017

In 2016 and 2017, ROI introduced our first round of education and workforce initiatives for the job opportunities in Southwest Central Indiana.

We’re pleased to share some of the metrics from some of these initiatives. Click on each infographic below to learn more about the initiative. And, join us April 17 at our Annual Report to the Region for more updates and the announcement of several new initiatives launching in 2018.

Ready Schools Initiative Infographic

STEM Fellows Infographic

Graduation and Career Coaching Initiative Inforgraphic

Out-of-School STEM Learning Grants Infographic

Skill UP! IT Internship Program Infographic


STEM Fellows tour IVY Tech labs, discover new ways to integrate technology in the classroom

STEM Fellows Cohort 1

On Thursday, February 8, ROI’s hosted a workshop for its first cohort of 15 STEM Fellows. The group gathered at Ivy Tech to discover new ways to integrate technology into education. STEM Fellows also took an in-depth tour of the makerspaces, technology labs, fabrication, and advanced manufacturing resources available at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus.

The day’s activities focused on examining how K-6 schools are using tech in the classroom and exploring novel ways to make technology usage more relevant to curricula and student development. Read more.


Former GM executive joins ROI as sector specialist

Kim Waldridge

ROI has added a new sector specialist to our team! Kim Waldridge is working part-time with companies in Southwest Central Indiana’s key industry sectors to collaborate and develop strategies to align education and workforce initiatives across the region.

Waldridge comes to ROI with experience in advanced manufacturing project management, industrial engineering, lean design, safety, training, and human resources. Her 35-year career at General Motors in Bedford combined with her community outreach experiences will be invaluable as ROI works to develop and expand sector partnerships in the region. Join us in welcoming Kim!


Applied Research Institute is hiring

The Applied Research Institute is hiring two new positions: a Director of Strategic Partnerships and Outreach and a Senior Program Manager.

The Applied Research Institute, Inc. (ARI) is a non-profit research institute that brings together leaders from Indiana government, the state’s largest military asset, industry and research universities to facilitate and manage collaborative research teams to pursue major federal grants and contracts and perform corporate-sponsored research in participants’ areas of technical expertise. ARI is a cooperative effort between Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Purdue University, Indiana University, and Indiana’s industry base. Read more.

ARI was one of three entities funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. in 2016 to develop initiatives to foster prosperity and capitalize on assets in Southwest Central Indiana. Read more about Southwest Central Indiana’s partner organizations.


Upcoming events in Southwest Central Indiana

In each newsletter, we share a summary of ROI events and those from our industry partners and organizations in Southwest Central Indiana. 

March 5: IU Center for Rural Engagement Kickoff Event
West Baden Springs Hotel, 4-5:30 p.m. The formal launch of the IU Center for Rural Engagement, a newly organized initiative that leverages the resources of IU Bloomington, in collaboration with local communities and regional partners, to address opportunities and challenges in 11 neighboring counties of Southwest Central Indiana. RSVP here.

March 27-29: Economic Development for Community Leaders Conference
French Lick Resort. Presented by Radius Indiana.

April 6-7: Combine Conference
Monroe Convention Center. The Combine is a conference exploring the entrepreneurial spark at the intersection of community, culture, creativity, capital, and code.

April 9-10: Indiana Summit on Out-of-School Learning
Indiana Convention Center. Hosted by Indiana Afterschool Network and the Indiana Department of Education. More information.

April 17: ROI Annual Report to the Region
French Lick Resort. More information coming soon.

May 12: ROI Cybersecurity Mock Challenge
More information coming soon.

Do you have a regionally relevant event to share? Contact Betsy Trotzke, ROI Communications and Marketing Director at betsytrotzke@swcindiana.org.


Southwest Central Indiana

11 counties, 4,500 square miles, the 3rd largest Navy base in the world, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and more.

Follow us on social media for more up-to-date happenings in Southwest Central Indiana.



Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc., is sharing this informational update with you – as one of our stakeholders – to illustrate the activities currently underway to ensure long-term prosperity and quality of life in Southwest Central Indiana. We hope you find this information helpful and encourage you to share it with colleagues. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us

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