Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, Indiana announced April 9 morning the organization is embarking upon a process to develop a comprehensive and long-term action initiative.

The innovative process begins mid-April as EDCMC and area partners converge to highlight economic development opportunities locally and construct a step-by-step plan of action towards creating a sustainable business environment.

EDCMC Executive Director Kevin Kieft said, “We wish to create a marketplace of abundant opportunities — these would include jobs with livable wages, opportunities of growth for new business and expansion of existing business.”

“It’s important to remember that economic development organizations do not create jobs,” Keift continued. “Instead, they create environments where opportunities can thrive.”

EDCMC developed five strategic goals to fuel the process forward:

  • Workforce Development & Education – align with existing and targeted industry needs
  • Business Retention & Expansion – ensure local businesses receive necessary support and attention to compete in global marketplace
  • Business Attraction & Development – bring in prospects that are compatible and partner with regional organizations with similar goals
  • Integration with Community Development – seamless execution and implementation programs to drive systemic change
  • Organizational Sustainability – ensure long-term sustainability through effective governance to maximize engagement

The development and implementation of the action initiative should last one year, while overall execution and monitoring will take place over roughly five years.

Kieft said this collaborative effort is needed sooner rather than later. “Now is the time for a fresh perspective and renewed focus on preparing Michigan City today and into the future,” he said. “We need to create solutions so we can compete in our ever-changing global marketplace.”

For example, according to March 2013 research provided by The Center of Workforce Innovations — a strategy development and implementation organization based out of Northwest Indiana — manufacturing provides approximately 15 percent of jobs in Michigan City and pays higher than average wages in the area.

Chuck Compton, EDCMC Board of Directors Chairman, said, “Our workforce is aging, and there needs to be qualified applicants behind those retiring who can fill in the gaps. There are jobs out there but employees have to be qualified with the essential skills. This action initiative is working towards aligning a trained workforce with what our industries require.” Compton also serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for Chicago South Shore & South Bend Freight Railroad.

EDCMC is an independent not-for-profit corporation, separate from the City of Michigan City. The EDCMC’s action initiative remains its own effort, working in conjunction with various city and community leaders.

EDCMC Board of Directors Member, Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer said, “I believe that this action initiative compliments all of the revitalization efforts that are going on from our City Planning and Redevelopments departments. I also believe that two of the most important aspects of this program will be the overall marketing of the Michigan City community, showcasing nationally what we have to offer; along with business attraction, bringing in businesses and corporate headquarters to Michigan City, which would be taking the place of lost industrial jobs that have occurred through the years. I believe this initiative is putting into action the necessary steps to increase job opportunities for Michigan City residents.”

With the aid of key stakeholders and area partners, whose goals are similar, EDCMC will share resources to develop and execute the action initiative. The collaboration brings 150+ community, city government and business leaders together to provide input on the process.

EDCMC is commissioning consulting firm Crowe Horwath LLP as a partner. One of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the nation, Crowe has local offices throughout the Northern Indiana and Chicagoland area. “Crowe Horwath is an experienced and well-respected firm. Their nationally recognized expertise adds value to our work in bringing opportunities to our area,” said Kieft.

Dean Uminski of Crowe Horwath will oversee the project, and said he takes personal pride in the assignment. “As a local resident, I am invested in this area and its future,” he said. “Crowe’s experience and approach in facilitating and engaging public and private stakeholders in the planning process will become a driving force behind solutions to position Michigan City as an effective competitor in the global marketplace.”

This initiative is primarily funded by EDCMC.

About Crowe Horwath LLP

Crowe Horwath LLP is one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the United States. Under its core purpose of “Building Value with Values®,” Crowe uses its deep industry expertise to provide audit services to public and private entities, while also helping clients reach their goals with tax, advisory, risk and performance services. With offices coast to coast and 2,600 personnel, Crowe is recognized by many organizations as one of the country’s best places to work. Crowe serves clients worldwide as an independent member of Crowe Horwath International, one of the largest global accounting networks in the world, consisting of more than 150 independent accounting and advisory services firms in more than 100 countries around the world.