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 * Purdue Center for Regional Development

February 15, 2007

Event unveils new approach to competing in global economy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In the new economy, competition isn't so much on the other side of town but on the other side of the world. To learn more about an innovative approach to global economic competitiveness, civic leaders from 14 Indiana counties are invited to informational meetings on Feb. 22-23.

The regional North Central Indiana WIRED Leadership Learning Lab and Strategic Doing Forum will take place at the Indiana University-Kokomo Kelley Center. There is no cost to register, and those who complete registration in advance will receive a parking pass and lunch for the Feb. 23 meeting.

WIRED, which stands for Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, is a federal initiative designed to transform the north central Indiana economy. In 2006 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $15 million each to 13 regions in the United States, including a grant to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD). The grant covers a region comprising Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Fulton, Howard, Montgomery, Miami, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Warren and White counties.

The IDWD selected Purdue University to oversee the north central Indiana WIRED project.

"WIRED embraces the concept of establishing sustainable networks and will host quarterly forums to engage participants throughout the region," said Mark C. Smith, WIRED North Central Indiana project administrator. "Forums provide an exciting opportunity for involvement, empower local participants and help us direct resources accordingly. We encourage attendance by the general public, educators, local economic development organizations, elected officials and business leaders."

The Feb. 22 Regional Leadership Learning Lab runs from 5-6:30 p.m. and will provide an overview of WIRED, introduce WIRED project members and explain how civic leaders and those they serve can become involved in the north central WIRED network. The meeting will include an interactive exercise in which participants can identify and promote collaborative economic development activities within their communities.

The Feb. 23 Strategic Doing Forum is slated for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sessions include:

*  "Update on WIRED from a National Perspective" - Helen Parker, regional administrator, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

*  "Introduction to Regional Principles" - Scott Hutcheson, assistant program leader, Purdue Center for Regional Development; and Randall Kempner, vice president for regional innovation, Council on Competitiveness.

*  "Introduction to the Multimillion Dollar Opportunity Fund" - Craig Lamb, executive director for workforce and economic development, Ivy Tech Community College, Lafayette, Ind.; and Ed Morrison, economic policy adviser, WIRED North Central Indiana.

Participants also will take part in exercises to define regional principles, set a course for the Opportunity Fund and create a process for sharing regional economic development ideas. The forum ends with lunch and an "idea bounce," an informal discussion on how best the north central region can move ahead.

Advance registration for one or both days can be made by contacting Peggy Hosea of the WIRED Kokomo office at (765) 236-0955, phosea@purdue.edu. Those registering in advance will receive a parking pass via e-mail.

On-site registration at the Kelley Center takes place from 4:30-5 p.m. on Feb. 22 and 7:45-8:15 a.m. on Feb. 23. Indiana University-Kokomo is located at 2300 S. Washington St., on Kokomo's south side.

For additional information about the forum, contact Hosea.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Source: Mark C. Smith, (765) 479-6058, smith96@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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