Tech Talk: Catching Up on Indiana Chamber Activity

A busy June at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce included items of importance to the innovation and entrepreneurship communities. A brief overview:

Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card
The every-other-year evaluation of our state’s economic performance includes the Dynamic and Creative Culture driver. Unfortunately, the statewide statistical measures don’t match up to the progress being seen in central Indiana and other select areas. Indiana is tied for 44th in the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index and 35th in venture capital invested.

There are strong performances in university business spinouts, foreign direct investment and exports.

Full details and summaries at

10th annual employer workforce survey 
While the Report Card showed some progress in educational measures, this survey reinforced the ongoing skills mismatch. Two numbers: 47% of respondents left jobs unfilled in the past year due to under-qualified applicants and 79% indicate filling their workforce is among their biggest challenges. Both trends have only increased over the past four years.

The survey also looks at workforce recruitment strategies, training and drug testing.

Details at

Coming Your Way

  • The July-August BizVoice® includes, among other features, visits to four co-working spaces around the state and a column on the green Internet of Things.•
  • Coming in mid-July is the new EchoChamber podcast. Technology and innovation will be one of the featured subjects. Catch a sneak preview at

Gov. Holcomb Statement on the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card

Gov. Holcomb offered the following statement on the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card and 10th annual workforce survey released Tuesday:

This report card makes clear our state’s strengths and challenges: Indiana is a top state for doing business, but to meet the demands of our growing economy we must double-down on efforts to attract and prepare a ready workforce.

There is no single solution for improvement. The only way we’ll take our state to the next level is with a comprehensive strategy, and Indiana has the right roadmap.

From improving roads and bridges to attacking the drug epidemic, from prekindergarten to adult career training, from more direct flights to enhanced regional development—all of these efforts combined will help build healthier, more vibrant communities that are magnets for jobs and growth.

Now is the time for our state’s leaders to come together and put in the hard work that will improve the lives of Hoosiers.

We appreciate the governor’s support and attentiveness to our efforts.

Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card

Chamber President Kevin Brinegar recently spoke with Inside INdiana Business about our Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card, which was unveiled this week. See the video. Additionally, here is a link to the report card itself, and below is a summary of the findings:

A snapshot of where Indiana ranks nationally in 60 key economic measurements was released today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The report includes revealing outcomes both for areas in which Indiana is doing well – regulatory freedom and small business survival, for example – and where improvement needs to take place – such as post-secondary education attainment and the state’s poverty rate.

This report is the next step in Indiana Vision 2025, a comprehensive, multi-year initiative to provide leadership and a long-range economic development action plan for Indiana. It marks the start of the Indiana Chamber examining key metrics at two-year intervals through 2025, covering progress in four critical areas: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure and a Dynamic and Creative Culture.

The overriding message, says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar, is that the state cannot afford to rest on recent laurels like the education reforms of 2011 and instituting a right-to-work law in 2012. "We can’t be fatigued by the effort or take a break on improving Indiana. Other states and countries are moving at a fast pace and we need to remain competitive in order to have a prosperous environment for our citizens."

And in areas where Indiana is currently lagging, change will not happen overnight, Brinegar cautions. "It will take a robust effort by like-minded groups to affect both policy and societal changes that impact these metrics. Significant advances by Indiana also can be undone through inattention, poor policy choices or the dramatic actions of other states and nations."

While passing good public policies, where appropriate, are one element of this larger picture, Brinegar asserts the key is implementation. “There has been no better example of that than education reforms. Too much time, money and effort has been spent the last two years on efforts to reverse 2011 achievements (school choice voucher program, charter school expansion) rather than ensuring these are implemented at the highest level to assist Hoosier students and families.

"Our No. 1 priority has to be investing in the education, knowledge and skills of Hoosiers. Our goal is to achieve prosperity and cultivate a world-class environment full of opportunities," he concludes.

When it comes to the report card’s specific ratings, the most progress has been made in building an Attractive Business Climate. Indiana is at the very top for the regulatory freedom index and in the top five of the small business survival index. (Separately, Indiana’s business climate was recently ranked fifth best nationally and best in the Midwest by Chief Executive magazine).

Indiana has also enjoyed advances regarding its Dynamic and Creative Culture – most notably jumping into the top 10 for business research and development.

Further work, however, is needed in producing Outstanding Talent. More Hoosiers attaining associate’s degrees and higher plus focusing on early education are among the keys. A disturbing placement is Indiana’s poverty rating. Indiana has gone from having the 12th lowest poverty rate in the nation in 2000, to 32nd in 2005 and now 35th in 2011.

"This illustrates the sad reality for some of our citizens and emphasizes why workforce training, sending children to pre-school, completing high school and beyond are so vital. Only when we put greater focus on these activities will we have a significant impact on moving people out of poverty," Brinegar surmises.

Meanwhile, Indiana’s Superior Infrastructure driver has been an advantage for the state, but the dynamic surrounding road funding and energy costs is changing. Case in point: Indiana is trending in the wrong direction for affordable electricity, dropping to 19th in 2011 (was 11th in 2000 and 12th in 2005).

A summary of Indiana’s top and bottom rankings, the biggest gains and drops, plus the goals established for each is available at The report card, the Indiana Vision 2025 plan and additional information are also available at that site.

Brinegar: “A” through “F” Grading System for Indiana Schools Warrants High Marks

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar explains how the State Board of Education’s new analysis process for Indiana schools will benefit education in the state. He notes that removing ambiguous labels with a simple "A" through "F" grading system will make the process much clearer and more understandable for all involved.

Indiana Leads in Manufacturing, but Challenges Persist

A new report card by Conexus Indiana contains some interesting findings regarding manufacturing in Indiana. On a positive note, the state ranks above average in terms of its global position. However, Indiana earns subpar marks for human capital:

Indiana continues to boast the strongest manufacturing economy in the nation, and is a leader in attracting foreign manufacturing investment – but long-term weaknesses in its workforce will undermine these advantages unless bold action is taken.

These are among the observations made in the second-annual ‘Indiana Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card,’ released by the Conexus Indiana initiative. The report card was discussed at a breakfast event hosted by Conexus in Indianapolis, which also featured a program focused on Indiana’s ‘clean technology’ sector, which offers manufacturing opportunities in areas like hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced battery technologies.

“Manufacturing has been the primary source of economic growth and jobs in Indiana for generations,” said Steve Dwyer, President & CEO of Conexus Indiana. “This report card helps tell us in an empirical way how vital manufacturing still is here – and most importantly, the issues we need to focus on to keep it that way." …

Other key findings from the 2009 Indiana Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card:
• Indiana ranks first among states in per capita manufacturing employment and 9th in logistics employment per capita;
• The state ranks first in income derived from foreign-owned manufacturers and 5th in reach of foreign investment, reflecting strong success in attracting global manufacturing capital;
• While Indiana ranks second among states in workers compensation rates, the state places 28th and 33rd respectively in healthcare premiums and long-term healthcare costs, making healthcare an issue of concern going forward;
• With rankings of 29th in percentage of the workforce with a high school diploma and 42nd in college-educated workers, human capital remains Indiana’s biggest long-term hurdle to future manufacturing and logistics growth.

The full 2009 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card can be viewed online on Ball State University’s web site.