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South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership outlines new plan for growth

WSBT 22 photo

The time to grow the local economy is now.

The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership outlined its new economic development plan tonight (Thursday).

The meeting had close to 100 community leaders in attendance.

The room filled with key community stakeholders. They all gathered to hear the findings of a report by TEConomy detailing economic development strategies.

It focused on ways to grow industries in the area, something Notre Dame will play a key part in.

“I think we can make a transformational change in this region,” said John Affleck-Graves, Notre Dame Executive Vice President. “It will make it a much more vibrant economy.”

That change is happening now.

Community leaders filled the room, eager to hear how they can work together to boost the South Bend-Elkhart Economy.

A TEConomy partners report found three strategies to implement: driving innovation into the region's existing industrial base, developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and retaining talent.

“This really is the time to focus on these initiatives to really help transform the economy so the economic trajectory is different in the next downturn,” said Deborah Cummings, Senior Director of TEConomy.

A unique asset of the region to help grow the economy is Notre Dame. Executive Vice President of Notre Dame John Affleck-Graves says the university has a role to play in the community.

“We are very excited about having an industry innovation institute that Notre Dame can work on and allow our faculty members to help local companies improve their business processes manufacturing,” said Affleck-Graves.

They also plan on connecting students to careers through internships.

“Being able to really focus on leveraging that aspect, to be able to connect industry to the students and industries to apply for research to all of the assets of that University, I think will really help position the South Bend-Elkhart region for the future," said Cummings.

The president and CEO of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional partnership says the overall goal is to increase per capita personal income for residents.

Right now, we are at 87% of the national average.

By 2025, they hope to exceed the national average.

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