Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Regional Chamber outlines priorities

Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana released a list of 13 legislative priorities for the 2015 Indiana General Assembly on Wednesday, December 3. The event was held at the Academic Center, at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

The Regional Chamber represents businesses and communities in a 10-county region of Northeast Indiana, focusing exclusively on state legislation and policies that impact the workforce, infrastructure and helping Hoosiers compete in a global economy.

Among the proposals approved by the Regional Chamber’s membership is creation of Last-Mile College Completion Grants. The goal is to incentivize institutions of higher education to seek out and work with former students who have completed at least 60% of their degree, developing personalized plans that lead to finishing the “last mile” of their education. Schools would receive grant funds upon graduation.

“By 2018 it is estimated 60 percent of jobs will require degrees or credentials, and we want Hoosier ‘near-completers’ to be ready for the best-paying jobs,” said Vince Buchanan, Regional Chamber executive director. “Northeast Indiana’s take-home pay is nearly 20% below the national average. Last-mile grants would help change that by growing a skilled workforce. It’s a win-win for residents and the local economy.”

Other priorities include state tax credits for Hoosier medical device manufacturers to offset the new “Obamacare” federal taxes on their products, and establishing guidelines for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management that allow businesses to operate within clearly defined policies approved by state lawmakers.

Buchanan says the Regional Chamber’s members and several of Northeast Indiana’s elected representatives are working together to present a clear message to the General Assembly. “Our annual priority list is how the 10 counties of Northeast Indiana come together and speak to the Statehouse with one voice. We’re sending a clear message about what is most important for the growth of Northeast Indiana.”