The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City today announced it has finalized a long-term strategic initiative that outlines action towards creating a local sustainable business environment. Executive Director Clarence Hulse told the Region News Team Michigan City has many great assets, which they have identified and are using to promote the city, like the downtown area and the city's proximity to Chicago.
The strategic initiative with action items are the result of a 10-month study through collaborative taskforce committee meetings. EDCMC initiated the innovative process, which brought together stakeholders to form the five taskforce committees. Each team consisted of approximately 10 to 25 business, civic, educational and community leaders.
The EDCMC Board of Directors unanimously adopted the following economic development opportunities at a meeting April 11:
1. Workforce Development & Education – align workforce development and education with existing, targeted industry needs
o Established state’s first Career Connections construction/carpentry program, offering La Porte County high school students hands-on training for dual credit and direct entry into an apprenticeship program with partner A.K. Smith Career Center and local business leaders in November 2013
o Collaborating with Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana to develop and implement a trade and logistics program for Michigan City
o Energy Academy Partnership between NIPSCO and the La Porte Co. Career & Tech Education to prepare area students for high-demand jobs in the electronics, energy and utility industries
2. Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) – ensure local businesses receive necessary support and attention to needs/issues to compete in global marketplace
o Renewing Urban Enterprise Zone to stimulate local community and business redevelopment in distressed areas through eligible tax benefits
o Reviewing existing abatement policy for deductions on improvements to property or equipment
o Enhanced BR&E survey visits to gain understanding of business community’s needs
3. Business Attraction & Development – attract and develop prospects compatible with local business environment and long-term strategy; partner with regional organizations with strategic plans aligned with EDCMC goals for business attraction and development
o Relocated and recruited Calumet Pallet Co. Inc. to Michigan City throughout fall 2013
o Relocated D. Martin Enterprises manufacturing to Michigan City from Chicago Heights, Ill.
o Planning future industrial/business parks
4. Integration with Community Development – implement and execute seamless strategies and programs with both economic development and community development driving systemic change
o Working with community partners to coordinate solutions for the people who are homeless in La Porte County
o Exploring housing options for seniors, workforce, etc.
o Recommended the implementation of a community branding initiative
5. Organizational Sustainability – ensure long-term sustainability by effectively maximizing engagement of EDCMC Board of Directors, staff, investors, city officials and community stakeholders
o Initiating Circle of Investors Capital Campaign to support EDCMC efforts
o Adopting policies to engage and educate board, staff and community about EDCMC vision and objectives
Many of the initiative’s action items have already been completed or are currently in the process of being implemented. Execution of the plan will take place over the next five years.
Members of the public are invited to learn more about the strategic initiative and action items on Tuesday, April 29th, at 5:30pm, in the Michigan City City Hall Emergency Operations Room.