An EDA University Center (UC) is one of the U.S. EDA Investment Programs, which partners the federal government and academia to make the vast resources of universities available to their regional economic development community. PCRD is pleased to have been designated as the UC for the State of Indiana by the EDA. Under this program, multiple initiatives utilize the staff and resources of PCRD to develop tools used to train and engage civic leaders in Indiana and the Great Lakes region. As an EDA UC, PCRD is developing data-driven tools that offer information on regional assets, engage target groups in the use of the regional planning tools, produce regional economic profiles and other informational resources of value to stakeholders, launch programs that build on regional assets and opportunities and activate new and existing regional collaboration and innovation networks.
Several economic, social and demographic challenges are confronting many communities and regions across the Great Lakes Region. Local, regional and state leaders need access to timely information and sound, evidenced-based strategies that can guide them in their efforts to build strong, vibrant regions. The EDA Great Lakes Regional Training Initiative is a collaboration of the University Centers (UCs) in the six-state region that comprises the Chicago office of the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). The objective of the initiative is to build on the unique assets of the EDA UCs in order to develop and deliver powerful economic development learning opportunities to leaders across the Great Lakes Region. As a UC in the EDA Great Lakes Region, PCRD is helping to create and strengthen the network of UCs within this region, create an advisory board that represents the end users of the UC training programs, compile an inventory of current programs offered by the Great Lakes UCs, develop and implement a communication strategy for the UC training programs and report training needs in the Great Lakes Region to the EDA.
While many communities profess that they are military friendly, there is limited research that outlines what factors contribute to the well-being of military and veteran families. This initiative plans to establish a joint working relationship between the USDA Economic Research Service and two Purdue University-based entities—the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) and the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD). The purpose of this relationship is to investigate current research on military friendly communities and develop a list of indicators contributing to military friendly communities. The primary outcome hoped to achieve from these efforts is a comprehensive database that can be used to test various indicators that best reflect the military friendliness of local areas.
For several years, the Southern Rural Development Center’s (SRDC) team at Mississippi State University has been monitoring a number of socio-economic indicators in the Mid-South Delta Region intended to track the nature of changes occurring in this region over time. These indicators included a trend analysis, quartile analysis and statistical analysis of factors contributing to poverty levels. PCRD continues to update data for the variables set by the SRDC, produce maps of the variables, develop an online mapping tool for use by the Walton Family Foundation and prepare regional cluster reports for the targeted Delta Regions. These efforts are intended to promote community vitality and sustainability in the Delta Region and guide the future work of the Walton Family Foundation.
The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies works to invest in innovative social sciences-based research that explores the food and nutrition assistance challenges facing Native Americans, immigrants and other key populations in rural America. The RIDGE Center is interested in basic, applied, policy and evaluation-related research that aligns with one or more of these priority topics: child nutrition programs, food security, household economic instability, food choices, food/nutrition assistance program use and place-based factors affecting food access or choices. PCRD is a part of this competitive grant program, awarding grants of up to $35,000 to chosen candidates whose research coincides with the RIDGE Center’s priority topics.
The current downsizing of the U.S. military is resulting in the reduction and cancellation of contracts and orders in the defense industry supply chain. This situation will ultimately result in adverse impacts on communities, manufacturing and various companies as military bases close or downsize and revenues from the defense industry are reduced. The loss of jobs, loss of disposable income and loss of revenues created from this reduction requires prevention or mitigation from appropriate programs, projects and initiatives. The objective of this project is to stabilize and strengthen the defense-dependent communities and the defense manufacturing sector in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana through increased job creation and retention. PCRD focuses on defense-dependent communities in Indiana, while the University of Michigan and Ohio State University implement changes in Michigan and Ohio, respectively. Each university works closely with its respective state agencies, local and regional units of government, economic development agencies and Small Business Development Centers to accomplish these goals.
This major university-wide effort is intended to help accelerate Indiana’s capacity for attracting and expanding high-technology job opportunities among new ventures as well as second-stage (and larger) employers by synthesizing collaboration with students, alumni, industry, non-profit and public leaders. The effort is comprised of three activities: launch and sustain a new center, called The Collaboration Express, to engage Purdue’s many strengths toward working with companies, non-profits, educators and other stakeholders to significantly expand high-technology job growth throughout Indiana; develop a shared, interactive visualization platform, called INcareer Express, to be a dynamic resource for career mapping and forging talent connections; and empower students to more effectively plan an educational pathway for a high‐tech career in Indiana. PCRD is actively working on the first two activities noted above.
In many counties today, finding ways to create, attract and retain good jobs is a challenging process. SET is the result of an important partnership of USDA Rural Development (USDA RD), four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs), the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) and land-grant university-based extension educators across the country. The purpose of SET is to strengthen the capacity of communities and counties in rural America to work together to develop and implement an economic development blueprint for their self-defined multi-county region. This blueprint is one that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. SET works to guide the formation of regional teams, assist teams in discovering regional assets and strengths, advance the creation of high-quality regional economic development plans and provide guidance on plan implementation, sustained momentum and long-term success.