By Mark Ambrogi
Drew Klacik is convinced for Indiana to grow, it must be proactive about attracting people to move into the state.
“We have to take risks,” said Klacik, senior policy analyst at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute at IUPUI. “We have to invest in our future.”
Klacik spoke about the Public Policy study “Thriving Communities, Thriving State” and how it relates to Hamilton County, central Indiana and the state Jan. 11 at the OneZone luncheon at Ritz Charles in Carmel.
“The slowest growing states in the nation are almost all in the Midwest,” Klacik said. “Our (Indiana) growth rate is about 12 percent, and the United States is expected to grow around 29 percent. It’s because we don’t make as many babies as other places. It’s because our babies move away. That’s the big challenge we face.”
Nine of the last 10 years, more people have moved out of Indiana than into Indiana, Klacik said.
“We’re getting better at growing jobs and wages, but we’re not getting better as fast as the rest of the United States,” Klacik said. “We’re making progress while falling farther behind. That’s a troubling trend.”
Klacik said most people moving into Indiana are from Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.
“Those are three of the states dying faster than we are competing for human capital,” he said.
Klacik said keys are forward-thinking leadership and creating a thriving regional ecosystem.
“One is to grow and attract jobs, the second is to grow and attract talent and third is to grow really attractive places to let you do that,” Klacik said.
Klacik said it is easier to create human capital retention strategies than it is to create human capital attraction strategies.
“More people migrate to Hamilton County on average every year from Marion County than the rest of the United States,” Klacik said. “If Indiana suffers, Marion County suffers. If Marion County suffers, you all (Hamilton County) suffer, especially if you are a realtor.”
Klacik said one constant in the study is “what you want out of life is for your children’s life to be better than yours, and your grandchild’s life to be better than theirs, whether you are from Paoli, Carmel or Fort Wayne.”
Klacik said collaboration to grow the state is essential, and the status quo is unacceptable.