David Rosenberg: Generational change requires bold vision, daring moves

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Last month, my wife and I welcomed our third child, Jack, into the world. He is bright-eyed and so beautifully innocent—a whole life waiting ahead of him. Holding him in my arms during these early sleepless nights, I’m continuously reminded of why I do what I do.

I answered the call to serve because I want to ensure that my children—and all Hoosier children—have a better, more prosperous future. Doing that—creating long-lasting generational change—will require proactive strategy, data-driven initiatives and bold approaches. And as I reflect on this past year and all that we’ve accomplished, I can confidently say Indiana is doing just that.

Thanks to Gov. Eric Holcomb, the Indiana General Assembly and our industry and economic development partners across the state, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has achieved another record-breaking year for economic development, setting the stage for continued economic momentum, innovative breakthroughs and a future that offers more opportunities for all current and prospective Hoosiers.

In 2023, companies from here and around the world committed to investing $28.7 billion to locate or expand in Indiana, besting the state’s 2022 record of $22.2 billion and obliterating the historical annual average of $4.9 billion. More important, these commitments are expected to create 21,866 career opportunities for Hoosiers. Not only are these jobs focused in high-growth, future-looking industries, but they will offer average wages of $36.07 an hour—or more than $75,000 annually. This marks a 4% increase from last year and exceeds the national average wage, putting more money in Hoosier pockets and creating generational prosperity for families.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a state, we’ve achieved record years for venture capital, entrepreneurial activity, foreign direct investment and economic growth in rural communities. We’ve partnered across party lines to expand and modernize Indiana’s economic development toolkit, helping Indiana land more investment opportunities. And we’ve secured three new federal tech hub designations for technology, hydrogen energy and microelectronics—defying the odds despite a 0.01% chance of winning all three.

We’re catalyzing the growth of the state’s most prominent sector—manufacturing—by supporting $329 million in technology-enabled capital investments while fostering the development of new-to-Indiana industries like semiconductors, electric vehicles and clean energy that will be critical to the future global economy. And we’ve come together like never before to invest in our communities, allocating $1 billion in state funding to advance quality of place and quality of life for all Hoosiers.

It’s clear that Indiana’s economy is strong. 2023 was a historic year for the IEDC and, more important, for the economic accomplishments and momentum that will create lasting change for Hoosiers.

This year wasn’t always easy, though. The IEDC has faced its share of criticism. But as I reflect on these trials in the face of all that we’ve achieved, we are championing the future for all the right reasons—to ensure all Hoosiers, present and future, have the opportunity to choose Indiana and have all the opportunities for a successful, fulfilling career and life.

The governor and the IEDC have been bold in the pursuit of lasting, generational change. We have shifted the state’s narrative and solidified our reputation as a forward-thinking, global destination for business, industry leaders and talent. We have invested in innovation and laid the groundwork for next-generation industry, ensuring that Indiana will be at the forefront of tomorrow’s global economy. And we have committed to our future in unprecedented ways, building the future our kids—and their kids—deserve.

This is a turning point in Indiana’s history. We must leverage this historic momentum and capture Indiana’s true potential for the benefit of generations to come. So, we will continue to be bold in our pursuit of a more prosperous future. Because 30 years, 50 years, 100 years from now, we will look back on this moment and say, “We, as a state, chose to step into the global arena and create our own destiny.”•

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Rosenberg is Indiana secretary of commerce and leads the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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