Phase II Diversification Teams

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The Elkhart Diversification Phase II approach is not a study or traditional planning effort. The goal of the project is to design and implement a multi-faceted redevelopment and economic diversification initiative that produces short and long-term outcomes. Rather than conducting studies and plans that produce individual silos, this process will look to connect the relevant economic and community development opportunities together. The Phase I Economic Diversification Study determined that there was insufficient collaboration and/or community organization around three locally based economic elements that are viewed as critical to Elkhart’s future ability to prosper, grow and build its overall resiliency.

Three teams will work simultaneously on the following economic development initiatives. The goal will be to collaborate and prioritize the next one to four high-impact projects for the City’s future stability and growth.

  1. Industry Diversification – Industry diversification that identifies target industries and a road map for attracting and growing business outside of Elkhart’s traditional manufacturing sectors.

  2. Talent Optimization – Workforce and talent development that builds career pathways for Elkhart’s workforce to grow their skills from one job to the next within the economic infrastructure of the City

  3. Land Use & Infrastructure – Industrial park redevelopment and infrastructure upgrade programs that will make better and more efficient use of the City’s real estate


By combining all three plans into one overarching strategy, we will look to create a comprehensive and implementable work program that builds upon our powerful economic engine and creates unique and abundant opportunities for all.
— Mayor Tim Neese, City of Elkhart
Read Mayor Time Neese’s letter to team participants.

Read Mayor Time Neese’s letter to team participants.


Why is this important?

Elkhart public and private leadership has determined that continued industry diversification, talent development, and land use and infrastructure commitments are required to continue Elkhart's growth momentum. New development must not stop at the River District. Yet, we must continue to expedite projects throughout the City with the same commitment and pace of execution as The River District.

The Elkhart 2040 initiative is designed by the Mayor Tim Neese administration to identify the next high-impact projects in Elkhart. These projects will be collaboratively prioritized to address Elkhart's needs for progressive economic development to grow our population and be a destination where all community members want to live and thrive. Our momentum must continue.

As the Phase I Diversification Study concluded, Historically, Elkhart has been susceptible to economic shocks, technological disruptions, and workforce shortages due to the local economy’s high concentration in singular industries such a manufacturing. 17 of our top 18 industries are manufacturing related -- most specifically to the RV industry. While continuing to support the RV industry is critical to our future, we must also expand. The Elkhart 2040 plan is intended to provide a process for addressing our need to expand by implementing an economic diversification program that is driven by a continued partnership between local and regional, private and public sector leaders.

Team members’ involvement in this process is important for the City of Elkhart's future economic development and shared prosperity. As Mayor Tim Neese shares in the letter above, the Elkhart 2040 vision is an exciting opportunity for all of us to collaborate and decide together, along with many others who we will be involved, how Elkhart's future should take shape.


Proposed Team Meeting Dates:

Assigned teams will simultaneously meet at the following times to collaborate and share work for feedback. Work sessions and review may be scheduled among teams between these sessions. Team members have been selected for invitation.

  • August 27, 2019 - Introduction: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics >>Team Member Registration

  • September 24, 2019 - Session 1: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • October 22, 2019 - Session 2: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • November 19, 2019 - Session 3: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • December 17, 2019 - Session 4: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • January 21, 2020 - Session 5: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • February 18, 2020 - Session 6: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics

  • March 17, 2020 - Session 7: 10:00AM-12:00PM @ Elkhart Health & Aquatics