[r63] Messmer Report: Creative solutions to boost the economy

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, August 26, 2011

A great resource for economic development in Indiana is our excellent higher education system. This week, the Interim Study Committee on Economic Development met and discussed how we can further improve the mutually beneficial relationships between Indiana's universities and colleges, state government and how education ties into economic growth. Over the next few weeks we will meet again to discuss other incentive and tax policies that can be added or improved to boost economic development.

This week we heard from various educational agencies and their representatives provided us with some tangible ways in which we can partner to create a new generation of businesses.   Indiana still benefits in a variety of ways from job markets derived from manufacturing and our energy resources, but the world continues to change around us.   The "information economy" is where Indiana still needs to grow so that we can compete globally and keep the 'American Dream' alive.

Through research, we know that by educating a world class workforce, creating a competitive and stable tax structure, and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship we can continue to have economic success in Indiana. We are currently leading the way out of this recession, and are working to make sure that continues in the coming years. But unless we stay on top of the situation we will most likely fall behind. We heard from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation this week that site selectors look heavily at the math and science skills of our workforce when deciding on the location for their new manufacturing facilities or a corporate headquarters.

We have already started to focus on this fact by working to encourage entrepreneurship and small businesses in Indiana. Legislation we passed this year will help college students put their business plans developed in their entrepreneurship classes into the real world market.   I think many of our communities will benefit from their work. The importance of an entrepreneurial mindset throughout the education curriculum was emphasized, and was discussed by the Department of Education on how they will start to implement this into our students' education.

We also heard from one of the presenters on the importance of utilizing the regional campuses of our colleges and universities as a much more instrumental role in local economic development.

Many more ideas are being considered, and in a few months we will make recommendations to the General Assembly on how we can further improve these key relationships. We are lucky to have world class universities in Indiana and I know we can work together to find many more ways to boost the economy for all Hoosiers, continue to improve the job market and make this a state where people love to live and work.

If you have thoughts or ideas you'd like to share please contact me at H63@in.gov or at 317-232-9671.