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Economic Opportunities 2015 (EcO15)


A $38 million education and training grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to The Heritage Fund-The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and the Community Education Coalition in Columbus is expected to bring more $900,000 in grants for a regionally-focused initiative called Economic Opportunities through Education by 2015 (EcO15). The grants are assisting Community Foundations in funding educational programs associated with Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Hospitality/Tourism for 10 Southeastern Indiana counties including Dearborn County.

The Dearborn Community Foundation Inc. (DCF) expects to receive more than $900,000 over a three-year period to fund an Economic Opportunities 2015 (EcO15) coordinator and administrative assistant positions and to support and expand educational programs associated with Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Hospitality/Tourism in the county.

The EcO15 programs will teach skills needed for an influx of jobs primarily in advanced manufacturing but also in healthcare services and hospitality and tourism in the Southeastern Indiana region. Among growing advanced-manufacturing job opportunities in the 10-county region are a Honda automobile manufacturing plant in Greensburg and a new engine manufacturing operation at Cummins in Columbus.

Advanced Manufacturing is the value-added combination of people, processes, and products, which remains competitive in a high-wage environment in the pursuit of continuous improvement. Advanced Manufacturing is the major economic cluster in SE Indiana, therefore, the major focus of the initiative. To meet the workforce needs of today’s manufacturers, EcO15 and the national Dream It. Do It. Campaign are helping to develop resources for both educators and students to increase manufacturing job readiness skills. Resources include relevant, work-based learning institutions, such as Middle School, High School, Career tech, Adult basic education and certification centers, Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUC, and Purdue College of Technology.

Healthcare is the next most important industry sector to Southeastern Indiana, employing more than 10% of the region’s workforce.
To meet the needs of the healthcare industry, a Regional Clinical Simulation System was formed to address the need for more-and better trained-healthcare providers. The RCSS will provide high fidelity simulations for healthcare educational programs. The RCSS will be available to secondary and post-secondary students and/or employees of healthcare organizations who are providing opportunities for employees to upgrade their professional skills for advancement and promotion.

DCF’s Mark Neff is the EcO15 Coordinator for Dearborn County. DCF has established an EcO15 Task Force representing professionals in the areas education, manufacturing, healthcare services, and hospitality/tourism to guide the EcO15 program in Dearborn County.

Dearborn County Workforce Statistical Information

Dearborn County’s EcO15 Initiative is all about connecting residents of Dearborn County through high-tech and high-touch programs to explore career pathways in fields that drive our regional economy. An interesting component of the initiative was to create a summer college intern position to work directly with the EcO15 Coordinator. Since intern Kelsey McMullen joined the DCF team, she has researched data sources and compiled a data base that expresses various components of our county’s workforce. DCF hopes the data base will be used as a tool for promoting economic development and employment opportunities from inside as well as outside our community. Please click below to view the workforce statistical information.

Click here for Workforce Statistics

Click Here to visit the EcO15 website(

To learn more about the EcO15 initiative in Dearborn County, contact Mark Neff at:

Dearborn Community Foundation, Inc.
322 Walnut Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
(812)539-4115 phone