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Grant supports statewide workforce initiative

Lilly Endowment provides $925,000 to continue the regional alignment efforts of the Education Workforce Innovation Network, an initiative of UIndy’s CELL

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News coverage:
Inside Indiana Business
University Business
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

A statewide initiative to align K-12 and postsecondary education with regional workforce needs will continue for another two years, thanks to a $925,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis.

The grant will directly support the Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN), administered by CELL, which identifies and works to close gaps in education-workforce alignment through regional partnerships among school corporations, institutions of higher education, workforce development agencies, business and industry, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders.

Established in 2012, EWIN provides resources and technical assistance in clarifying workforce needs and coordinating educational programming and training efforts, including the implementation of innovative new models. Its partnerships are organized according to the 12 Economic Growth Regions established by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, enabling programs to be tailored specifically to local issues and industries.


“The goal is to create educational opportunities that match the economic realities of Indiana’s workforce demands,” said CELL Executive Director Janet Boyle. “This new funding will support further progress as we make strategic investments in innovative programming to benefit students, business and industry and, as a result, the economy in different regions across the state.”

For example, in Region 2 — which comprises St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and Fulton counties in northern Indiana — EWIN collaborates with the Region 2 Works Council, the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and Horizon Education Alliance. Together they provide technical assistance and consulting services to support coalition building, industry sector partnerships and pathway systems development.

“CELL is such a great thought leader for our state,” said Brian Wiebe, executive director of Horizon Education Alliance, which promotes education innovation and workforce development in Elkhart County. “We’ve seized every opportunity it has provided to us, and the momentum we are experiencing in Region 2 is directly related to the funding, expertise and connections that have come through our relationship with EWIN.”

EWIN also is partnering with the Indiana University Public Policy Institute to research promising global, national and statewide practices involving career pathways systems and the benchmarks that demonstrate positive impact. This work will guide the regional partnerships in selection, implementation and evaluation of education-workforce systems.

More information on the Education Workforce Innovation Network is available at

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. However, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

About the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning
Created in 2001 at the University of Indianapolis, CELL is a leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for dynamic, innovative education change to improve student achievement throughout Indiana. CELL’s efforts are rooted in the principle that all students, regardless of background, should graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education, training and success in the 21st-century global economy. More information is available at