Readi 2022 Awarded Projects

READI Program Awards


Engineering Your Future CTE Manufacturing

Engineering Your Future is an initiative to increase participation in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the Advanced Manufacturing programs delivered at the Elkhart Area Career Center and regional high schools. Focused on middle school-aged students, this combined awareness campaign and summer programming effort will increase students’ access to meaningful career exploration support. Today, depending on the size of the school district, some middle schools have a ratio of one counselor to 400 students. This investment will help reduce that bottleneck. During the summer between eighth and ninth grades, students will participate in hands-on project-based learning activities and guided career exploration with community business partners.

Lead Organization: Elkhart Area Career Center

Partners: iNDustry Labs, Marson International, and Ivy Technical Community College

SJC Career Hub

South Bend Community School Corporation, with support from the South Bend Regional Chamber, is spearheading the formation of a multi-school district CTE Career Hub set to open in 2025. An Experiential Learning Coordinator (ELC) will build industry partnerships to scale up work-based learning (WBL) and foster collaboration between and with area school leaders, guidance counselors and instructors, community partners, and the Career Hub planning team to ensure work-based learning is prioritized. The ELC will augment the capacity of each school system to focus directly on engaging with employers. Today, most WBL coordination falls to individuals that have other job responsibilities. The county-wide ELC will directly increase WBL partnerships for each school.

Lead Organization: South Bend Regional Chamber

Partners: South Bend Community School Corporation, enFocus

enFocus Fellowship Expansion

The purpose of enFocus is to attract, develop, and retain talent in the South Bend – Elkhart region. The READI grant will expand the enFocus Fellowships and internships program. Today, enFocus hires 30 Fellows and 30 interns per year in support of 75 projects with public, private, and nonprofit organizations across the region. The grant will add catalytic funding to hire more Fellows and interns across the current enFocus civic, industry and new project focus areas, including sustainability and entrepreneurship.

Partners: enFocus has worked with over 150 regional organizations across its project engagements. They have defined itskey partners as organizations that strategically engage with enFocus over multiple years to address key issues facing our region.

Regional Higher Education Talent Pipeline and Partnership Consortium

Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Susan Elrod has convened a consortium of local higher education leaders to work collaboratively on programs that leverage their strengths in achieving post-secondary goals shared across our region. This program will provide: 1) funding for equipment that will create modern facilities in health sciences and advanced technology education at four institutions, and 2) funding for planning activities that will create a Health Industry-Education Partnership focused on improving talent development and retention. Expected results include new facilities, increased graduates from these programs entering the workforce, and innovative, collaborative healthcare talent development and retention programs.

Lead Organization: Indiana University South Bend

Partners: Saint Mary’s College, Marian University’s Ancilla College, Ivy Technical Community College

Intern SBE

Intern SBE is a proposed expansion of the LIFT Initiative Internship Program. The LIFT Internship Program has created nearly 70 internships across 28 unique employers since 2021 by providing employers with wage reimbursements, talent-matching, and intern professional development/social programming. Intern SBE will expand employer program eligibility to public sector and non-profit organizations; moreover, to reflect regional employment trends, Intern SBE will provide wage reimbursements for internships in pathways such as Healthcare, Education, Social Services, and Non-Technical Business Operations, in addition to Engineering, IT, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain—which are already eligible through the existing program.

Partners: enFocus, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, South Bend Regional Chamber, University of Notre Dame

Next Path Training

The Next Path consortium of partners has come together to support a three-year program to deliver training pathways for software development, cybersecurity, tech support, networking, and data Science to train up to 600 individuals in the region with a particular focus on providing access to under-represented communities. By providing hands-on experience with web development technologies, data and databases, backend services, and cloud computing, the training programs offered by Next Path Consortium members provide better outcomes for individuals considering up-skilling or re-skilling to obtain higher-wage employment.

Partners: enFocus, South Bend Code School, Trek10


Digital Storefront Program

The Digital Storefront Program transforms and enables the digital presence of small businesses in the South Bend – Elkhart Region with a focus on female- and minority-owned businesses. By providing technology assistance grants and reducing barriers for small businesses to take part in the digital economy, the Digital Storefront Program will support the growth and sustainability of businesses.

Lead Organization: Human Delta, Inc. (South Bend Code School)

Partners: North Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, the City of South Bend, the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, and CDFI Friendly South Bend.

enFocus Expansion Support

This program will grow the number of Fellow-led startups, increase services for regional startups, and increase our partnerships with national investor networks to assist new companies toward locating here. enFocus will grow our Research, Development, and Entrepreneurship (RDE) program where Fellows can commit up to 30 percent of their time towards developing their own startup and/or working with an existing startup.

Partners: Pipeline and resource partners include the IDEA Center, Startup South Bend – Elkhart, Elevate Ventures, and Mission Innovation Network.

Talent for Tomorrow Consortium Entrepreneurship

Talent for Tomorrow is dedicated to a growing, vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend – Elkhart region, forming the next generation of talent to fuel a regional startup strategy through education, internships, events, and mentorships. A major barrier faced by the region is the lack of enough talented and skilled individuals needed to ensure a vibrant startup culture. Talent for Tomorrow partners will resource talent from many of the programs to which they are connected to ensure programs are reaching first generation college students as well as encouraging women in their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Lead Organization: Regional Innovation and Startup Education (RISE)

Partners: IDEA Center, Saint Mary’s College Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative


WE+YOU Talent Attraction and Retention Campaign

To change the region’s trajectory of net outmigration to a positive net in-migration, the WE+YOU Talent Attraction & Retention project partners will implement three core strategies as defined in the Smart Connected Communities 2030 plan: activate the regional talent attraction brand, expand the What’s Next talent attraction program, and activate a remote worker strategy.

Lead Organization: South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

Partners: The Regional Partnership maintains strong partnerships with local governments, regional LEDOs, visitors’ bureaus and higher education institutions. All of these will play a critical role in activating the WE+YOU Marketing Campaign including the infusion of the branding into their already strong marketing and branding campaigns.

INNOVATION - $1,380,000

SBE Manufacturing Readiness Accelerator

The SBE Manufacturing Readiness Accelerator will provide local industries pursuing advanced automation initiatives with access to advisory services and technology to produce flexible automation cells. By leveraging common automation themes, a cohort of companies will come together for strategic collaboration and for guidance through implementing the technology. This industry-driven, public-private partnership focused on R&D and technology adoption will enable a long-lasting impact beyond the program. These projects are the backbone of the compelling and advanced work that will enable this region to develop and attract the talent that will become the next generation of manufacturing leaders.

Lead Organization: South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

Partners: The key partners are the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Industry Growth Committee, iNDustry Labs, enFocus, and LEDOs, along with Conexus. Private sector partners include the sponsor company, cohort companies, automation suppliers, and regional workforce that will develop and implement the flexible cells.