NEW ALBANY, (August 3, 2023) – Two Southern Indiana entities are teaming up on education, training, and regional development. Align Southern Indiana has moved their offices to the Indiana University Southeast campus to build synergies between the university and the economic and educational development agency.
Align Southern Indiana was created in 2017 following a needs assessment by the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and the creation of the Cradle to Career initiative. Headed by Dr. Rita Shourds, Align focuses on five areas including economic and talent development, an integrated cradle-to-career educational model, regional leadership, improving quality of life, and enhancing the quality of place of the region. It currently serves a five-county region including Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Washington, and Scott counties.
“The mission of Align Southern Indiana is to actively facilitate a shared regional process that aligns resources, addresses needs, and produces sustainable solutions resulting in our region achieving its potential as a best place to live, work and play,” said Shourds. “If we want to accomplish that as an organization, we need to immerse ourselves with like-minded individuals. And we feel like we can absolutely achieve that here at Indiana University Southeast.”
There are several projects that the collaboration between IU Southeast and Align Southern Indiana will benefit. Projects include partnerships with the School of Education to prepare students for kindergarten, and Work + Earn, a statewide initiative to create a talent pipeline for employers through IU Southeast’s Career Development office. Future synergies could be built with the School of Social Sciences on addiction prevention or with the School of Business to create a new cohort of collaborative leaders, according to Shourds.
“The partnering of IU Southeast with Align Southern Indiana is beneficial to our organizations individually, and to the region as a whole,” said Dr. Debbie Ford, chancellor of Indiana University Southeast. “We believe our students and faculty will benefit from this collaboration, and that together, we are stronger, more effective, and have a greater impact. Campus resources like the Applied Research and Education Center, led by Dr. Melissa Fry and her student researchers, will help identify issues we can impact, that ultimately advance our area to the betterment of all who live here.”
“Even though we will be experiencing a new headquarters, our mission hasn’t changed,” said Shourds. “We will continue to engage and align governments, education, civic, business leadership, and nonprofits throughout the region with strategies for moving our region forward. Big things are happening in Southern Indiana and Indiana University Southeast always seems to be on the precipice of new, innovative ideas.”
“When I was a student at IU Bloomington, I enrolled in summer classes at IU Southeast and eventually became an adjunct faculty member for the School of Business early in my career,” she said. I feel like I am returning home to a place I have always enjoyed!”
The office, in Crestview Hall, room 214, on the IU Southeast campus, will house Shourds and is open by appointment. To schedule a time, please contact Shourds at (502) 777-0779 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Align Southern Indiana, visit their website at www.Alignsi.com.