Southeastern Indiana’s city, town and county governments are working across county lines to form a region to compete for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative, or READI. We want to share more with our local stakeholders about this exciting funding opportunity which has the potential to be a game changer for southeastern Indiana.
What is READI?
Through the Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI), the State of Indiana will encourage neighboring counties, cities and towns to partner to create a shared vision for their future, mapping out the programs, initiatives and projects that are critical for them to retain talent today and attract the workforce of tomorrow. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb first introduced the program as a Regional Recovery Initiative in his 2021 State of the State address in January.
How much in funding?
Indiana lawmakers have allocated $500 million in funding in the next biennial budget for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) READI program. IEDC will award approximately 10 regions up to $50 million per region to support the implementation of strategies focused on making positive developments in quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction and development. These strategies will be outlined in a regional development plan.
How is the region being identified?
In order to be competitive for this funding opportunity, our county will be open to participation in a multi-county collaborative of neighboring southeastern Indiana counties, cities and towns, and potentially beyond our neighboring counties. By statute, the program requires participation of local governments in at least two counties, but competitive regions in rural areas of the state may need to collaborate to a larger degree. For perspective, competing regions expected to identify range from five- up to eight-county collaboratives.
Who is participating in our region?
The IEDC asks for regions to self-identify. At the moment, the Southeastern Indiana Growth Alliance region of Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties seems likely, but the regional identification process will continue to be inclusive through the regional identification deadline of July 1. Each local government in a participating county will have the opportunity to align themselves with this region and submit their projects for consideration to the regional development plan.
Who is organizing?
Local economic development organizations of the Southeastern Indiana Growth Alliance are informing and gathering support of public and private sector stakeholders in their respective counties, as well as establishing the regional, private non-profit entity required to serve as the official applicant. Counties, cities and town leaders are exploring and identifying potential READI-eligible projects with regional impact. The Southeastern Indiana Regional Plan Commission may serve as the fiscal agent for the region.
What types of projects could be funded?
The IEDC has suggested the following project ideas:
- Quality of Life/Quality of Place
- Construction projects including workforce housing, community amenities, and infrastructure.
- Cultural facilities, community spaces, and other civic initiatives.
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiatives
- Industry driven public private partnerships focused on R&D, commercialization, and technology adoption.
- Projects or initiatives to promote digital literacy and adoption by Indiana employers.
- Equipment (hardware or software) for training, research, or production.
- Talent Development and Attraction Initiatives
- Skilled trades and workforce training partnerships or facilities.
- Cybersecurity and coding programs.
- Equipment (hardware or software) for workforce development programs.
What is the local match requirement?
Stakeholders should match state dollars with local public and private funds. This includes a required 1:1 match from local public funding and a recommended 3:1 match from private and philanthropic sources. The matching dollars from local governments can be committed over multiple budget cycles. The private sector match is expected to occur over time as well.
Also, the IEDC is making planning grants up to $50,000 in state funds available for each region. With added local match, the planning funds will be used to hire professional planning services to create our regional development plan.
When are the deadlines?
- July 1 for regions to self-identify with the IEDC.
- August 31 for regional development plants to be submitted.
- November-December for winning regional applicants to be announced by IEDC.
When will the READI funding be awarded?
IEDC will hold each region’s awarded funding until approved projects in the regional development plan are funded by the necessary local government(s) and/or private sector stakeholders. As funding is approved locally, the IEDC will disburse the matching state READI funding.
What are the next steps?
Local governments are being invited to write a letter of intent or resolution aligning themselves with our southeastern Indiana region – local governments can contact your county’s economic developer (see below) for more information or assistance. Private sector stakeholders and regional institutions are also being welcomed to sign on to a letter of support for the multi-county collaborative. The IEDC will be holding a READI informational meeting in our region with the date and location to be announced soon.
Where can I learn more about READI?
Visit the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s READI webpage at www.iedc.in.gov/program/indiana-readi/home.
The Indiana Economic Development Association has also published a podcast with IEDC Chief of Staff Luke Bosso about the READI program at ieda.podbean.com/e/regional-economic-acceleration-and-development-initiative.
County Economic Developers
- Dearborn County – One Dearborn, Mike Perleberg – 513-256-1843 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Franklin County – Franklin County Economic Development Commission, John Palmer – 765-338-8201, email@example.com
- Ohio County – Ohio County Economic Development Corporation, Lane Siekman – 812-584-3996, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ripley County – Ripley County Economic Development Corporation, Gary Norman – 812-689-4344, email@example.com
- Switzerland County – Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation, Jon Bond – 812-427-9100, firstname.lastname@example.org