Six Additional NWI Projects Start with READI Grant Funding

Six Additional NWI Projects Start with READI Grant Funding

Thirty-four (34) projects were selected by a team representing talent, business development and marketing, infrastructure, quality of place and entrepreneurship and innovation. The Northwest Indiana Forum spearheaded the efforts to secure $50 million in READI grant funding. These selected projects have an additional $550 million of matched spending that will spur development and growth in Northwest Indiana. The Northwest Indiana Forum represents Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties.

Six of the thirty-four projects were approved last week for READI grant dollars by the Northwest Indiana Forum Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).  These projects have met all the necessary requirements to receive READI grant funding.

These projects include:

  • Kingsbury Industrial Park RR Bridge Improvement – La Porte County Redevelopment Commission – $601,600 READI Funds/$4,477,600 Total Investment – The Railroad Bridge Improvement project is a continuation of public and private investment in the Kingsbury Industrial Park (KIP), which is an existing industrial park with approximately fifty businesses in operation and over 2,000 acres available for industrial and logistics development. Upon completion, CN Railroad will have an active switch and access to all of the new and existing rail improvements in the park.

    LaPorte Redevelopment Commission President Randy Novak indicated that, “Our continued partnership with the Forum and IEDC has allowed our County to create a 1,000-acre logistics park served by two class one rail carriers as well as south shore freight and our park switcher JBC rail. The County Commissioners, Council and RDC members all pulled together and continue to put LaPorte County in a position to be successful.”


  • Ivanhoe South Community Development & Education Initiative – Shirley Heinze Land Trust – $977,000 READI Funds/$1,177,000 Total Investment – Ivanhoe South Nature Preserve is 50 acres of a remnant, globally rare dune and swale habitat located in the City of Gary. READI dollars will be utilized to improve access amenities for safe, enjoyable, and educational experiences.  The project will install sidewalks to improve walkability from West Side Leadership Academy and neighborhoods south of 9th Ave, enhance safety and parking amenities, and create amenities and low-impact structures to facilitate gathering space and community programming at Ivanhoe South.

    “The READI grant will allow Shirley Heinze Land Trust to make transformative major capital improvements to our Ivanhoe South Nature Preserve in the City of Gary, so people of ages and abilities will be able to access this valuable natural asset.” Said Kris Krouse, Executive Director, Shirley Heinze Land Trust


  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Business Training Program – Urban League of Northwest Indiana – $282,000 READI Funds/$412,000 Total Investment – The goal of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana (ULNWI) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DE&I) Project is to provide awareness, skills, and customer service training for a total of sixteen organizations. The focus is on raising awareness by helping individuals see the world through the eyes of someone of different age, race, sexual orientation, or gender.  The DE&I framework provides employees with tools that identify and address systematic barriers to build a diverse and inclusive workforce broadly representative of the citizens and communities we live and serve.

    “The Urban League of NWI recognizes the need to address societal issues as diversity, inclusion, equity and equality for the purpose of ensuring mission-driven success for Lake, Porter, and LaPorte county businesses and non-profit organizations. We seek to increase awareness through courageous conversations.” Said Dr. Vanessa Allen McCloud, President & CEO, Urban League of Northwest Indiana


  • Employer Upskilling – Center of Workforce Innovations – $564,000 READI Funds/$1,019,500 Total Investment – The Employer Upskilling Project provides education and training to improve workers’ education and employment opportunities. The project will expand current regional workforce development activities. The project will establish a referral network in partnership with local economic development organizations’ current business retention and expansion efforts. The project will work closely with the Ivy Tech Office of Career Coaching and Employer Connections to align training programs with employer needs.


  • READY NWI Education Alignment Program – Center of Workforce Innovations – $282,000 READI Funds/$682,000 Total Investment – Funding will sustain the ongoing READY NWI which stands for ‘Regional Education and Employer Alliance for Developing Youth in Northwest Indiana; a coalition of more than 70 school corporations and career and technical education programs as well as 8 colleges and universities. The coalition was created in 2012 to ensure that high school students graduate prepared to further education and obtain degrees and other certifications that meet Northwest Indiana employer needs.


  • Jobs for America’s Graduates Expansion (JAG) – Center of Workforce Innovations – $470,000 READI Funds/Total Investment: $3,325,000 – Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to helping promising high school students who have experienced challenging or traumatic life experiences achieve academic and economic success. The program goal is to increase high school completion rates and serve as a bridge to postsecondary education and career advancement opportunities. JAG offers a multi-year program for at-risk high school juniors and seniors. The program includes classroom instruction on an individual or group basis provided by a trained JAG Specialist. The competency-based instruction equips students with no less than 37 employability skills.

Lisa Daugherty, President & CEO, Center of Workforce Innovations said, “Center of Workforce Innovations is thrilled to receive READI dollars to expand our programming and provide more youth and adults with training and pathways to high demand jobs.  We appreciate NWI Forum’s leadership with these projects.”

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the IEDC, READI builds on the framework and successes of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the 21st Century Talent Initiative, encouraging regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that, when implemented, will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The $500 million READI fund was passed by legislation during the 2021 session. More information is available at

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