Technology Innovation Leadership for Sustainability, Climate, & Employment Issues in Indiana

DigitalIntelligence

Reflections from a state where government and business organizations work closely together for moving a sustainable ecosystem forward

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Photo by Corbin Mathias on Unsplash

In this article, I provide an overview of technology innovations, economic development, and key initiatives for infrastructure, sustainability, climate, and employment opportunities in the state.

Regulatory freedom for business owners, low business taxes, and unique infrastructure systems (top-ranked in the US) are distinguishing characteristics of Indiana. In addition, the state has a “common-sense spending” approach to keeping the economy intact.

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Screen Capture from Indiana Tech Report

Government, business organizations and research institutions work collaboratively in Indiana. As a result, there are many initiatives taking place in the state. Scott Dorsey, Cofounder of ExactTarge makes an exciting statement about Indiana in the report. Mr Dorsey comments:

I’ve never found a parallel of another state where government and business are working so closely together to move a tech ecosystem forward.”

Indiana has a focus on profitability through a vibrant technology community working on innovative solutions. Indiana offers the opportunity for superior collaboration with key partners in the industry. The state is prime for technology disruption contributed by visionary founders.

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Screen Capture Indiana Government Website

Two large globally recognized organizations Salesforce and Infosys, support the state technology landscape substantially. For example, Salesforce established a new headquarters called “Salesforce Tower” in Indianapolis. The office includes collaboration spaces, mindfulness areas and social zones.

Infosys acquired 70.5 acres for a training campus investing $35 million. This education center is planned to train software developers, analysts, technical architects, and technology consultants by 2023.

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Screen Capture fro Indiana Report

The President of Infosys (Ravi Kumar) commented:

“Infosys has always invested in advanced technology and skills. Our new Indianapolis facility will prepare our American employees — and those of our clients — to master the kinds of advanced skills that are now required to succeed in our digital future.”

There are many more technology companies in Indiana. You can find curated top tech companies by Zippia at this link.

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Screen Capture from Indiana Government Report

Environmental Sustainability in Indiana

Sustainability is a major topic in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) mission is to implement federal and state regulations for protecting human health and the environment. In addition, it allows the environmentally sound operations of industrial, agricultural, commercial, and governmental activities vital to a prosperous economy in the state.

In 1985, the Indiana General Assembly created IDEM under Title 13 of the Indiana Code. This act reorganized the state environmental programs. The programs are governed by the Indiana State Board of Health, Environmental Management Board, the Stream Pollution Control Board, and the Air Pollution Control Board.

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Screen Capture from Indian Senate Bill Record

In 2021, amendments to Indiana’s State Regulated Wetland Law became effective. These changes reflected in Indiana Senate Bill 389 reduced the number of non-federal wetlands regulated by the state. The details are in IDEM Wetlands, Lakes, and Streams: Isolated Wetlands Program.

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Screen Capture from Indiana Government

However, an article on Indy Star raises concerns stating with the title: “New bill would strip protections for many of Indiana's wetlands”. The article points out that:

“Wetlands are critical to the landscape, according to experts. They help absorb water and prevent flooding, they recharge groundwater resources — which provide a majority of Indiana’s drinking water — and they filter water as it soaks into the ground. Those who support Senate Bill 389 say it’s needed to remove red tape for builders and developers.”

IDEM collects air quality, water quality, and contaminated site environmental data and reports to the public and the US Environmental Protection Agency. IDEM issues governance permits for air, water, and hazardous waste, restricting discharges to environmentally safe levels.

IDEM staff members inspect and monitor regulated entities. They provide compliance and technical assistance. They monitor and assess air, land, and water quality and use enforcement actions as necessary to ensure compliance.

You can find details provided by the agency, its functions, roles and responsibilities, programs, and initiatives at this link. For environmental reports and plans, you can check the Citizens’ Guide to IDEM.

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Screen Capture from IDEM Website

IDEM samples for blue-green algae and analyzes those samples for the type and quantity of blue-green algae present and for the toxins such as microcystin, cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a, and saxitoxin which certain types of blue-green algae may produce. Details on this initiative are available at this link.

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Screen Capture from Indiana Government Website

There are offices covering the quality of air, water, and land. Assistant Commissioners lead them. The Office of Air Quality and is led by Matthew Stuckey. The Office of Water Quality is led by Martha Clark Mettler, and The Office of Land Quality by Peggy Dorsey.

From a sustainability perspective, recycling is an important matter in Indiana. A study (Indiana Recycling Infrastructure and Economic Impact) prepared by GT Environmental and commissioned by the Recycling Market Development Board (RMDB) covers specific recommendations to improve state-wide recycling to maximize its impact in the circular economy.

This recycling study demonstrates that Indiana’s waste and recycling infrastructure for municipal solid waste collected approximately 8.8 million tons in 2019, of which 19% was diverted from landfills through recycling and composting.

This study informs that even though only 19% of MSW (municipal solid waste) is currently generated the impact in total jobs in the recycling industry, the economic and the tax impacts are still significant. The target goal for Indiana is 50%.

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Screen Capture from Indiana Website

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management Office of Program Support, on behalf of the Recycling Market Development Board (RMDB), accepted proposals up to $500,000 in June 2021. You can receive electronic updates on rulemaking activities in Indiana.

In May 2021, the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Committee selected the Indiana Utility Group (IUG) to implement the state-wide direct-current fast-charging program. This program aims to have a formal education, outreach, and marketing program supported by the committee.

In addition to environmental sustainability, Indiana also has a strong focus on creating employment opportunities for the residents. The programs and initiatives are led by the Department of Workforce Development.

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Screen Capture from Government Website

Emphasis on Education & Employment In Indiana

The department has several resources on adult education. The focus is on the employment of residents. Adult Education programs provide math, reading, and writing instruction free of charge to help residents acquire the skills needed to earn a high school equivalency diploma, go to college, or enter an entry-level occupational certification program.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program helps workers who are unemployed because of the impact of foreign trade. This program aims to provide workers negatively impacted with the opportunity to obtain the skills, resources, and support they need to become reemployed in high salary occupations.

In addition, for capacity building purposes, there is an initiative called “INTraining”. This initiative presents a diverse and broad selection of occupational training programs supporting the employment goals of the workforce in Indiana. The initiative covers the “INTraining” list and the “Eligible Training Provider” lists. You can find the details on the Training Providers and Training Seekers pages.

Technology research and development is exemplary in Indiana. Top-ranked education institutes such as the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Purdue, Indiana, University of Notre Dame, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Ball State University support the technology vision of the state. These universities offer engineering, informatics, and computer science degrees and diplomas.

As stated in this inspirational video by Indiana Tech, tech means everything.

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is transparent to residents. He has a specific site called Ask Eric, encouraging residents to ask questions. In addition, residents can phone and send requests via this link.

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Screen Capture from Governors Website

Conclusions

The focus on technology research, development, environment, and sustainability significantly impact residents' well-being in Indiana.

The government organizations are improving the quality of place, infrastructure, available development sites and regulatory assistance to build economic strength and opportunity that grows and attracts new business and talent.

Programs like Capital Access, Certified Technology Parks, Compliance Technical Assistance, Broadband Ready Communities, Opportunity Zones, Collaborative Industry R&D, Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement programs as listed at this site are creating substantial vitality in the state.

Government programs and initiatives offer business support and expertise to investing companies and creating jobs in Indiana.

Congratulations to the government, partners, business companies, educational institutions, profit and non-profit organizations working collaboratively.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.

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