The recently released Regional Economic Development Strategy aims to match the South Bend-Elkhart region’s per capita income ($42,946) with the national average ($49,246) by 2025 through achieving the following five goals:
1. Improve postsecondary attainment. Current level is 30 percent. The goal is 50 percent.
2. Reverse out-migration to a positive. Currently two people per 1,000 migrate out of the region per year. The goal is to reach a positive net in-migration.
3. Establish new entrepreneurial ventures. The target is to establish 200 startup businesses by 2025.
4. Attract jobs in higher paying industries. Goal: A 20 percent increase in high-pay industry jobs by 2025.
5. Reduce minority income disparity. The region is currently in the 15th percentile in terms of minority income disparity. The goal is to improve into the 80th percentile.
MISHAWAKA — Nearly two years into the much heralded Regional Cities Initiative, local leaders have developed a new plan aimed at continuing the economic development and quality-of-life improvement momentum generated by the $42 million grant program.
The Regional Economic Development Strategy was unveiled Tuesday in Mishawaka and its primary goal for the South Bend-Elkhart region is to match the national per capita income average within the next eight years. The current local average is $42,946 while the national average is $49,246. To do so, the plan will focus on achieving the following objectives:
Improve postsecondary attainment level.
Establish new startup business ventures.
Reduce the number of college graduates who move out of the region.
Grow the number of jobs in high-pay industries.
Create new opportunities for women and minorities.
“We’ve been working on this for the last two years, if not longer, to benchmark our region against other (similar) Midwestern communities that could be aspirational for us,” said Pete Mc-Cown, president of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and chair of the lead committee developing the plan. “We diagnosed which factors we think lead to their vibrancy.”