June 2017: South Bend – Elkhart Region Update




For the 3rd year, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) is working with economic development organizations from St. Joseph, Marshall and Elkhart counties in Indiana, as well as Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan to administer a wages and benefits survey.

This survey collects actual wage information for 150 positions in management, production, technology, health, transportation and other areas. The benefits section compiles information on health insurance plans and costs, time off, retirement plans, financial incentives, workplace practices such as training opportunities, wellness incentives and child care assistance, and other areas.

The online survey, although detailed, is easy to complete and employers are provided with a complimentary report containing the aggregate data. The survey is taken online at www.WagesBenefitsSurvey.com/michiana. When you register, you will be asked to enter a survey code. The survey code is JD985he4 and is case sensitive. For information about the survey, Click Here.



Last week, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership hosted our 4th Annual SIOR Fun Shoot. Each year, top commercial real estate brokers from around the Midwest travel to the region for a fun-filled day in southwest Michigan. The day began with a sporting clays shoot at Deer Creek Hunt Club, followed by a Happy Hour beer tasting at Beer Church Brewing in New Buffalo and ending with dinner at the Four Winds Casino. These events were free to SIOR members, subsidized by outstanding sponsors, including Cornerstone Alliance, SIOR IN/KY Chapter, and the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership.

Here at the partnership, we are focused on marketing and business recruitment efforts for the South Bend-Elkhart Region in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. It is our priority to ensure that top real estate professionals, like SIOR members, are aware of the South Bend-Elkhart Region and its phenomenal business climate. Learn more about SIOR.



Located conveniently off the I-80/90 Toll Road at the US 31 Bypass, the South Bend International Airport (SBN) is an economic engine for the region. Owned and operated by the St. Joseph County Airport Authority, South Bend International’s multi-modal terminal services over one million air, rail and bus passengers each year. Delta and United offer service multiple times per day to five key hubs – Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Newark – allowing residents and businesses in the region to easily connect with major markets across the country and around the globe. In addition to legacy carriers, Allegiant offers service to vacation destinations in Florida, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

This year, a 38,600-square-foot $11 million federal customs facility was opened and will allow international flights to arrive direct to South Bend. The facility currently supports general aviation for private and corporate aircraft and will ultimately phase in commercial flights and the ability to ship freight to and from the airport. International freight service would complement the airport’s Foreign Trade Zone status.

Plans are now underway to add additional air service routes and double-track the South Shore Rail and realign the train’s approach into the airport, which will decrease the time between South Bend and Chicago to 90 minutes or less by the end of 2020.>e encourage our Indiana based businesses to sign up for Conexus Icon and maximize business opportunities within the state. Conexus Indiana provides an online Hoosier supplier database called Conexus Icon that offers buyers information regarding the capabilities and certifications of Hoosier suppliers. The database promotes Hoosier suppliers to procurement organizations, provides them with procurement opportunities, and supports growth not only in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, but every business-to-business sector in Indiana.

Businesses can register and update their company profile on the website, and the comprehensive search tool allows users to find suppliers with various capabilities. Also, the easy-to-use opportunity posting tool automatically matches and broadcasts the opportunity to registered users. Conexus Icon is an easy and effective way to promote and support the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries in our region. Learn More/Register Here.



One of the region’s marquee projects is to enhance the South Shore Line between South Bend and Chicago, making the system more efficient and reducing travel time to 90 minutes. The project is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen our economies, spark new investments, and attract new residents to our region like never before.

“Our goal is to run 90-minute service from South Bend to Chicago. This project puts this goal within reach. By reducing these travel times, we provide greater connectivity to Chicago, improve workplace accessibility for our residents, and retain and attract new residents, especially our youth that we have been exporting from our region for decades” said Michael Noland, President of South Shore Line/NICTD.

The project, when finished in 2020, will reduce the South Bend-to-Chicago trip from its current 2.5 hours to 90 minutes, and possibly down to 75 minutes on a special limited-stop trip each weekday morning and evening. The projected $290 million for the double-track portion of the project is slated to be funded 50 percent by the federal government, 25 percent by the state, and 25 percent jointly by Lake, Porter, LaPorte and St. Joseph counties.

Each county will contribute $18.25 million to double-track about 16 miles of railroad between Gary and Michigan City. The Indiana General Assembly approved $72.5 million in state funding this year and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it into law. An application for federal funding will be submitted by NICTD this fall.

The second part of the project needed to reach 90 minutes by 2020 is the realignment of the station as it enters the South Bend International Airport. Complementing the County’s investment in the double-track project, the City of South Bend will invest up to $25 million toward the new approach. Learn More.


The South Bend- Elkhart Region offers a central location with one of the nation’s best transportation infrastructures. Rail service is presently serviced by three Class I railroads (Norfolk-Southern, Canadian National, CSX), two Short Line railroads (Chicago South Shore & South Bend, Elkhart & Western) and two passenger rail providers (NICTD & AMTRAK) that travel through and provide various levels of service to residents and businesses in the region. In 2016, the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission, in partnership with the South Bend Regional Chamber, began the process to identify opportunities that may exist to partner with the various railroad providers to create economic development opportunities.

The final report is the product of the collaborative efforts supported by numerous individuals and organizations. A Steering Committee of various officials, professionals, and economic development experts provided invaluable insight and support throughout this project, including South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnerhsip Board member and South Bend International Airport Executive Director, Mike Daigle. To view the full St. Joseph County Rail Opportunity Plan, Click Here



Please help an area institution of higher learning understand your opinions about business school education needs across our area. To participate in the survey, please click BEGIN SURVEY.


Hoosiers by the Numbers is a great source of labor market information for the state and the region. The Regional Computing tool allows users to create any ‘region’ they would like to see and it will show the workforce movements, including movements within southwest Michigan. Users can select any of the four report types which include; commuting detail, demographic report, occupation clusters and industry clusters.

Improved Information = Improved Decision Making

As a partner in the state data initiative, Information for Indiana, Research & Analysis is committed to closing major gaps in the state’s collection, analysis and dissemination of data and to providing high-quality data and analysis for informed decision making by job seekers, policy makers, economic developers and other stakeholders in Indiana’s economy and labor market. Many of the data series are produced in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics or Employment and Training Administration and are comparable across states or to national data for the same series. Visit the Website.



Last Fall, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) allocated Regional Cities funding to a portfolio of eighteen projects, each of which must have final submissions and full commitment for all matching funds completed by June 15, 2017.

The RDA is encouraged by the process and expects most of the identified projects will meet all criteria and receive funding. However, it is anticipated that some funds may become available for re-allocation to other projects. At their July 13th board meeting, the RDA will review documentation and determine the availability of any released funds. It is estimated that approximately $1.5 million may become available. 

Organizations interested in being considered for this new round of regional cities funding should complete the Intake Form by July 15, 2017.Read More.



An update on the spec. building featured in last month’s newsletter: Officials with South Bend-based Great Lakes Capital and Pennsylvania-based Communications Test Design Inc. are set to break ground on a 315,000 square-foot facility in the Portage Prairie Industrial Park. Construction on the 119-acre site is expected to be complete in February. CTDI, an engineering, repair and logistics company, has had a presence in South Bend for nearly 30 years. GLC says the company has outgrown its current space and was looking for a location with access to U.S. 31 and the Indiana Toll Road. Learn More.


With so much momentum, we’re having fun spreading the word on why the South Bend – Elkhart Region is a great place to live and to startup, relocate or expand a business.

The Regional Cities initiative has already brought significant change to our region. Construction is now underway on several key projects, including ETHOS Science Center & Innovation Center, Renaissance District Studebaker Building and the Elkhart Aquatics & Wellness Center. Other projects, like the South Shore Doubletracking initiative, have met key milestones and are moving full speed ahead.

These bricks and mortar projects will transform our communities and the region for decades. But beyond that, the initiative provided us a larger opportunity.

Regional Cities was a watershed moment for the South Bend-Elkhart Region. It has been the perfect catalyst by making us think more broadly, by encouraging our community leaders to come together in an unprecedented way and making us think about sustaining our initiatives that will allow us to both attract and retain the brightest talent in support or our thriving industries.

The five committees formed by the Regional Development Authority to develop the long-term Regional Economic Development Strategy for our region are now finalizing their strategies around Entrepreneurship, Industry Growth, Talent Attraction & Retention, Workforce Development, and Diversity & Inclusion. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is looking forward to working with our economic development partners across the region to execute the priorities identified and endorsed by our stakeholders.

Stay tuned!

Best regards,

Regina Emberton