Economic Opportunities through Education by 2015 (EcO15) is creating a regional system of life-long learning by connecting the residents of ten counties within rural Southeast Indiana to better economic opportunities through education by the year 2015 and beyond. EcO15 phase one invested $38 million in infrastructure and common support services with an overarching goal of helping each person in southeast Indiana move up at least one level in their education, training or job placement within the region’s three strongest economic clusters: advanced manufacturing, health care, and hospitality/tourism. Lilly Endowment Inc. provided the $38 million grant to the region, and the region leveraged an additional $15 million during phase one. The objectives and strategies of EcO15 include:
Creating Networks of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing to determine needed qualifications and skill sets by industry which translate into educational program opportunities for students
Building on the success of the expanded Dream It. Do It. advanced manufacturing careers campaign and related initiatives in the region, this network has delivered comprehensive advanced manufacturing education and training opportunities at regional advanced manufacturing labs/learning centers located throughout Southeastern Indiana.
Creating Networks of Excellence in Healthcare
A regional network of stationary and mobile clinical simulation labs has been developed to ensure accreditation and advanced degree certifications for the regional health care services industry.
Creating Networks of Excellence in Hospitality/Tourism
Due to the growing hospitality industries spurred on by the gaming industry in the southernmost areas of the region, EcO15 conducted a needs assessment that created training and career pathways for people seeking work in southeastern Indiana’s growing hospitality and tourism industry.
Increasing regional collaboration through strategic planning and implementation of the planning
Developing career pathways and career awareness in each of the economic clusters
Cultivating emerging innovations and identifying catalytic initiatives; moving the region towards the EcO15 goals