GARY / MICHIGAN CITY, IND. – The cities of Gary and Michigan City have been selected to participate in the Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellowship, a new program launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in 2023. The inaugural program will connect 65 host sites nationwide with diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills, and vision to create new ways of doing economic development.
The cities of Gary and Michigan city were chosen from over 500 host applications. As hosts, they will share one dedicated fellow (fully funded for 2.5 years from the ERC program) who will serve as a field catalyst to enhance, strengthen, and coordinate relationships and local efforts alongside the host community.

In Michigan City, the ERC fellow will focus on the Vibrant Michigan City Playbook that was established through a community-centered process to ignite progress in the East, West and Mid-town areas of the city. The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City is serving as the hosting agency for the city’s fellow.

“What a great opportunity for Michigan City to be one of the very few cities in the country to receive a fellow to allow us to push our Vibrant Michigan City agenda forward for our citizens,” said Mayor of Michigan City Angie Nelson Deuitch “Our citizens helped us to create that agenda, which impacts not only the west and east sides of town, but all of Michigan City. So, we are just thrilled to have a fellow working with us to help us fulfill our goals.”

“Our ERC fellow will help us make a big impact in areas that have historically lacked investment by guiding the comprehensive roadmap through leadership, coordination and creation of actionable steps with initiative partners,” said Clarence Hulse, Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City “From the beginning, we have concentrated on having a working document that will not gather dust on a shelf somewhere but will be executed to make true headway in our communities. Our fellow is a vital part of this momentum.”

In Gary, the ERC fellow will work with the City of Gary’s Redevelopment Commission to engage local stakeholders, entrepreneurs, residents, and prospective developers in the development and branding of the new downtown Gary, which is part of the newly established Transit Development District (TDD).

“This is a groundbreaking partnership with the Economic Development Administration,” said Mayor of Gary Eddie Melton, “I would like to thank Christopher Harris, our director of redevelopment, for his hard work in securing this fellow through this national competitive process. We have some transformational projects planned for the City of Gary with the passage of Senate Bill 434. The funding from this legislation will allow us to build a new multimodal station and demolish some significant blighted structures that will make way for future development. Having this fellow will be a catalyst for the reinvestment and revitalization of our downtown Broadway Corridor.”

“We are excited to be matched with an experienced fellow through the ERC Fellowship program” said Christopher Harris, Director of Redevelopment for the City of Gary, “Our Fellow will be responsible for gathering key stakeholders to rebrand our city’s financial backbone and primary thoroughfare, Broadway, from our planned intermodal station in downtown to our city limits. Encouraging redevelopment efforts along this Corridor will have a multiplier effect on Gary’s tax base and its narrative. We are making GPTC’s Livable Broadway Plan a reality through this Fellowship opportunity.”

The ERC Fellowship was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is led by the International Economic Development Council and supported by 6 other national economic development organizations. The program is designed to build capacity in some of the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas across the United States while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders.

“ERC is more than a fellowship; it is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships deeply needed to produce lasting social and economic impact,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC. “By investing in capacity building and leadership development, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnerships, the ERC program will set the stage for the future of economic development and a new age of collaboration in the economic development field.”