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Indiana Chamber unveils 'playbook' for continued economic growth

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce on Monday released what it described as a “playbook” for continued prosperity over the decade and then some.

In Indiana Prosperity 2035 – A Vision for Economic Acceleration, the chamber identified more than 30 goals it said the state needs to address. The report took a year and a half to develop, with Larry Gigerich, an executive managing director for Ginovus in Fishers, leading the project.

Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said the report, the third created by the business organization, does more than just update past documents. As the executive summary states, the 20-page plan will serve as “the primary driver” for the chamber’s work through 2035.

“It’s a new vision and an acceleration to push Indiana’s economy to even greater heights,” he said. “Achieving the goals in the plan will benefit all Hoosiers, both businesses and citizens alike.”

The 31 goals listed in the report are broken down into six categories: workforce, education, economic growth and entrepreneurship, infrastructure and energy, quality of life and healthy communities.

Among the workforce and education goals include raising the rate of Hoosier workers having a credential, certification or degree to 70%, which would put Indiana in the top half of states. That includes a workforce where 40% have at least a bachelor’s degree. The chamber also wants to increase the state’s retention rate of college graduates by at least 25%.

The plan calls for a dramatic increase in achievement for younger students. By 2035, the chamber wants to see 70% of students be considered proficient in both math and English/language arts sections of the ILEARN test. The current rate is 31%. It also wants to see third-grade reading levels reach 90% proficiency and reduce the number of small school districts – defined as districts with 2,000 students or fewer – by half “to provide much stronger educational opportunities” for students living in rural communities.

“If Indiana excelled in addressing every other goal outlined in this plan and failed to make significant progress on the workforce and K-12 education goals, we are doubtful that Indiana’s economy will hold its place – let alone accelerate at the pace of improvement necessary,” Brinegar said.

Other goals listed by the chamber are reducing the state’s obesity and smoking rates to less than 15% and 20%, respectively. It also wants Indiana to lead the Midwest in population growth.

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