Proposal outlines bold regional goals for Housing, Culture, Infrastructure, Business, and Child Care

For immediate release Monday, March 18

(Southeast Indiana) – SEI READI, Inc. has successfully submitted the Southeast Indiana region’s proposal for a second round of funding from the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), spearheaded by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

Known as READI 2.0, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly have allocated a second round of $500 million to accelerate community development investments statewide. The state funding will be invested alongside $250 million in grant funding awarded by Lilly Endowment Inc. for the purposes of blight remediation, redevelopment, public arts, and cultural initiatives.

SEI READI received $15 million in the first round of READI in 2021. Through 2023, those funds were invested in 19 economic and community development projects to enhance economies and attract new talent and investment across Dearborn, Franklin, Ripley, Ohio, Switzerland, and Union counties. The IEDC and SEI READI leveraged the $15 million into $398 million in new private investment region-wide.

“Southeast Indiana demonstrated well its ability to make meaningful impacts with the IEDC’s READI 1.0 investment. READI 2.0 not only encourages us to continue thinking boldly about what our region can be, but this program allows us a real opportunity to make those things happen,” said Bill Schirmer, president of the non-profit SEI READI, Inc. Board of Directors.

Since READI 2.0 was announced in September 2023, SEI READI and participating local economic development organizations have collaborated with local elected leaders, employers, and everyday citizens through workshops, surveys, and preliminary project identification. With the guidance of regional planning experts at Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group and The Wheatley Group, the wide regional input has been distilled to further refine the 2021 SEI READI Regional Development Plan with updated visioning and goal setting.

“SEI READI, Inc. firmly believes that Southeast Indiana can become the fastest growing region in Indiana over the next 10 years,” said Schirmer. “We realize this is quite a bold statement and position to take. Luckily, we are in a state which is unabashed about setting higher expectations, competing nationally and internationally for business and talent, and transforming our economy to meet the needs of future generations of Hoosiers.”

The region’s proposal for READI 2.0 centers around five overarching pillars and related goals for local, regional, and state investment in the six-county region:

Housing and Neighborhoods – Provide 1,800 new housing units by 2030 and ensure that those new assets are available at attainable price points based on annual per capita income earnings.

Culture, Tourism, Recreation, and Lifestyle – Preserve, enhance and activate our communities, destinations and recreational activities as a front-line resource to grow our regional population by 5,000 residents by 2030.

Infrastructure – Increase regional infrastructure capacity and reach by 10% to ensure that our regional transportation and utility infrastructure systems are safe, efficient and meet the needs of our current and future residents and businesses.

Business Retention, Growth, and Attraction – Grow our regional target industries by adding 2,500 jobs by 2030 through business recruitment, expansion, and attraction efforts in an effort to increase the per capita income by 2.50% per year.

Child Care – Expand access to quality and affordable child care and early education programs by 10% percent each year through 2030.

The IEDC expects regional funding allocations to be announced in April 2024. Additional details on READI 2.0, including program structure, eligibility requirements, metrics, READI 2.0 goals, focus areas, application details, etc. can be found at

More information about SEI READI and regional updates can be found at


Media contacts with local economic development organizations:

Dearborn County – One Dearborn, Mike Perleberg – 513-256-1843 –

Franklin County – Franklin County Economic Development Commission, John Palmer – 765-338-8201,

Ohio County – Ohio County Economic Development Corporation, Mike Northcutt – 812-438-3324,

Ripley County – Ripley County Economic Development Corporation, Gary Norman – 812-689-4344,

Switzerland County – Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation, Jon Bond – 812-427-9100,

Union County – Union County Community Foundation, Olivia Chewning – 765-458-7664,