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It’s Official! The Eastside is Now a 21st Century Talent Region


On June 2nd, 2020, the Indiana Secretary of Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo announced the Eastside Economic Recovery and Mobility District (EERMD) as the state’s sixth talent region. 

What is a 21st Century Talent Region?

Originating from Executive Order 17-17, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb established the Secretary of Career Connections and Talent as a cabinet-level position in the Indiana state government. Governor Holcomb appointed Blair Milo to serve as Secretary, where she is the CEO of the Indiana State Personnel Department with oversight of the agency and its director. From there, the State of Indiana created 21st Century Talent Regions which are “places that commit to using a systems approach to attract, develop, and connect Hoosier talent”. It has also brought on Civic Lab as a partner, providing technical assistance in developing and utilizing a regional talent dashboard. Areas that have been successfully designated are self-defined by applicants, looking towards “building and implementing a plan to increase educational attainment, raise household income, and grow population” (IN Gov). The statewide project aims to increase partner collaboration across geographical lines to developing Indiana workforce by increasing higher skilled and higher paying job opportunities.

EERMD: Eastside Economic Recovery and Mobility District

Geographically, the region encompasses the entire IndyEast Promise Zone along with surrounding Opportunity Zones. Structurally, by utilizing the Promise Zone designation and including the peripheral Opportunity Zones, the EERMD can capitalize on more opportunities within these zones which positively impacts the community overall. While the designation does not come with funding, the process has facilitated a deepened relationship among community partners in the region with state and federal agencies. It has also formed better relationships between employers, schools, and training providers, having encouraged communication and stakeholder events like round table discussions. The IndyEast Promise Zone was pleased to work on this collaborative project to attract, develop, and connect Indianapolis Eastside talent. In many ways, the talent region status is a reaffirmation of the Eastside’s historical legacy of its commitment to community collaboration and always striving to improve the wellbeing of our neighbors. At the June 2nd virtual designation, James Taylor, the CEO of the John Boner Neighborhood Centers proclaimed that “collective community development work has been part of the Eastside for many, many years and has led to key partnerships and developments that have improved the quality of life across neighborhoods of the designated talent region. We are thrilled that working groups formed through the Promise Zone designation saw this as the next step in formulating a long-term strategy for talent development, connection, and attraction that is based on the rich existing assets of our respective communities.” The John H Boner Neighborhood Centers is the lead organizer in coordinating the EERMD’s actions outlined by the talent region.

The new talent region in the Eastside will also prove greater importance during economic crises, as the world is just now experiencing serious economic repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 2nd when the designation was announced, 21% of Marion County residents who filed for unemployment live within the Eastside community; 10% of the population of Marion County actually lives in the district.