Invest Hamilton County

Memos From Mike

Follow the Yellow Brick Bridge…to the Blue Road
November 14, 2023
Goals and Gratitude I try to remember every morning to write out a list of my goals for the day and things I am grateful for. Especially during this holiday season, I often find myself consistently grateful for all the amazing things happening in my life, and since joining this role I can (to an even greater extent) say, in our community. I am first and foremost grateful for our Board members, volunteers, and amazing staff. 2022 has been a year of perpetual momentum for a lot of big initiatives that will drive multi-generational change for Hamilton County residents for years to come. Here are just a few of those things: (This may be a long one…) Broadband Gratitude: We have since 2021 been the primary entity working on a County-wide basis to assist the Commissioners and municipalities with the facilitation of broadband investments. We have an amazing task force of local business, education and governmental leaders helping guide future progress. We now have about $9 Million in federal funds coming into our ecosystem in the next 18 months. Goals: There is more unmet need to serve, and unallocated federal funding which could serve thousands of residents! (Note: see below in the newsletter for what you can do to help with the next round!). We also are going to be working to maximize the impact of those existing federal investments through creative local solutions and partnerships. The Pursuit Institute Gratitude: I’ve written whole memos on how much this project excites me… and I am so glad that passion seems to be so contagious and shared throughout our community. I can truly say I do not know if I have ever seen as much done in an 18-month period as what Carrie Lively and our schools have accomplished. Within that period TPI has:
  • Received formal recognition from the State of Indiana as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) District
  • Worked with all six school corporation superintendents and boards to formally opt in to the collaborative Local Education Agency (LEA)
  • Established an operations manual outlining the procedures and process for how TPI operates between and within schools
  • Launched over 16 new programs and a full course manual for the 2023-2024 academic year
  • Leveraged the initial $425,000 investment from the County Commissioners and Council into $3.7 Million dollars that will directly impact the lives of Hamilton County teachers, counselors, employers and (most importantly) students.
  • Launched the first-in-nation Department of Labor approved apprenticeship in Elementary Education
  • Enrolled over 100 students across the county in Modern Youth Apprenticeship programs
My gratitude for the expertise, passion, dedication, and candid feedback from the six superintendents throughout the County as they serve as the guiding Board for this project… and the foresight of our County Commissioners and Council to make this happen… cannot be overstated. Goals: In 2023 the TPI and Invest teams are focused on implementing the staggering list of priorities laid out in the 5-year strategic plan, grants, and comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA).  Mental Health Gratitude: I get emotional when I think about the tremendous amount of support our community provides for individuals who are struggling with mental health. Between the compassionate initiatives of local leaders like Mayors Fadness and Jensen to the dedication and collaboration of our first responders, and the passion for innovation from our County elected officials, I am nearly brought to tears every week. This is a tough issue to make headway on but we’re a community that doesn’t settle for status quo just because a problem is difficult to solve. With local ARPA support, we were able to host quarterly Mental Health First Aid trainings, in partnership with Mental Health America of Indiana and the OneZone, Westfield and Noblesville Chambers of Commerce. We had over 70 local business leaders participate in the full day training throughout 2022 and have 8 additional programs planned for 2023. Thank you to the Hamilton County Community Foundation for being the Presenting Sponsor of this series. Invest Hamilton County also recently, in partnership with Hamilton County Tourism, the County Commissioners and Council, and the Hamilton County Sherriff’s office finished our first cohort of a Hospitality Training program in the County jail. Every participant passed their credentialling with full marks and the only feedback received was they wanted more opportunities like this one. The staff in our jails are amazing to work with and truly care about bettering the lives of the people they interact with. Goals: We’re going to continue to build innovative partnerships with the Sheriff, Jail and Community Corrections to help individuals interacting with those systems find opportunities for growth. The Commissioners and Council are also considering several innovative measures to address service gaps. Another deliverable about to become live around February 2023 is a Mental Health 101 Resource Guide specifically for Hamilton County businesses to use as they strategize how to assist and support their employees with mental health challenges. Workforce Development and Community Collaboration Gratitude: Our environment is unique in the state of Indiana and as such requires risk-taking and bold measures to continue to drive progress. Fortunately, we possess a myriad array of diverse local leaders who consistently participate in collaborative ventures like our 21st Century Talent Region Leadership Team. This is the primary group who, along with the Invest Hamilton County board of directors, guide a lot of the priorities and programming Invest and our partners implement within the community. It also serves as a common space for leaders from all our diverse stakeholder groups to share what they are working on and opportunities for collaboration. In the past year in collaboration with the 21CTR team we have launched:
  • New skills-based job board and career explorer Skillfit Hamilton County sponsored by Hamilton County Tourism, Duke Energy and MIBOR
  • New Invest Hamilton County website
  • Hamilton Connections partnership with the Hamilton County Leadership Academy to create community ambassadors to assist businesses and residents with engagement
  • Delivered a 2022 Workforce Opportunity Analysis studying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our workforce
  • First ever State of the Workforce event with over 180 attendees featuring national speakers and local industry leaders.
Goals: This group has a desire to begin to get more proactive regarding our county’s workforce challenges and opportunities. To that end an RFP was released yesterday to various vendors across the county to begin the first stages of a 2030 Workforce Vision for Hamilton County. Our goal is to build occupation and resident talent profiles based on current trends and economic development goals that showcase where our community will be in the year 2030. This common vision and the annual report cards will hold all our strong municipal, business and philanthropic stakeholders better align across a common data set and vision. Most of all I am grateful my family and I get to call this community home… that I get to work with such amazing people every day on such challenging and rewarding challenges… and that we collectively have seized the opportunities for impact. Thank you all for a great year… and happy holidays!