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Economic Outlook

Jeff Rea’s Blog Post (Episode 1510)

December 19, 2019
Author Jeff Rea

About Jeff

Jeff Rea is currently the President & CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jeff has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in our region while working in areas such as Economic Development, Business Development, City Planning, Marketing, and Local Government. Jeff has a degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC and executive management continuing education work at the University of Notre Dame.

Welcome to my blog post related to our taping on our show about Ivy Tech and what’s happening on campus there. I sure appreciate your support of WNIT, Public Television (PBS), and our show!

If you are not familiar with the show, we hope you’ll make plans to join us each week as we bring you stories about the people, companies and communitiesdriving economic growth in our region! If you want to take a look at some of our previous shows, their available at www.wnit.org/economicoutlook.

Employers are in a constant search for the employees they need with the right skill set to help their companies thrive. For over 50 years, the South Bend-Elkhart Campus of Ivy Tech has been giving those workers the skills they need by offering a wide variety of curriculum’s that include fields like information technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering, business, logistics and supply chain, and health services.

The role of the college continues to evolve as the needs of the workforce and the companies driving economic growth continue to change. I wanted to dive into that evolving role so I invited new Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart Chancellor Dr. David Balkin to join me for an update.

Balkin was named chancellor in August of 2019 and began in September. He previously served as associate director of regional development at the University of Notre Dame since 2014.Balkin succeeded Dr. Thomas Coley, who retired in May.

Balkin earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering, and Masters and Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from the University of Notre Dame.

Upon his hiring, Ivy Tech Community College President Sue Ellspermann said in a news release “Dr. Balkin brings both deep industry and academic experience to Ivy Tech.  We are focused on aligning the student, community and industry needs of St. Joe, Elkhart, and Marshall Counties, and proud to be engaged in the transformational LIFT grant funded by the Lilly Endowment.  There is much intentional work to align programs, develop youth apprenticeships, and ensure our graduates have workforce skills and credentials that support their, and the region’s prosperity,” “I am confident Dr. Balkin will effectively lead, align and accelerate these efforts on our campus and partner with industry, education, and communities.”

We had a great visit on the show, and we covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from students, to employers, to the wide variety of degree programs, to the new I-Flex Lab planned for the Elkhart Campus. I hope you enjoy the conversation; I learned a lot about what’s happening on campus and I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Balkin’s leadership.

My co-host, George Lepeniotis got an opportunity to visit the Elkhart campus of Ivy Tech. George does a terrific job of giving us a first hand view of the places we typically talk about on the show. He’s a critical part of our team and I’m appreciative of his efforts, he adds a lot to the show!

On a side note, the show is a big beneficiary of the good work that happens with students at Ivy Tech. WNIT and Ivy Tech have enjoyed a long relationship. Students are a big part of our camera and production team, working behind the scenes to make sure things come off without a hitch. Also, our Producer, Patrick Meehan, is a product of Ivy Tech. Students do similar works on the other locally produced shows on WNIT, like Education Counts Michiana, Politically Speaking, Experience Michiana, and Dinner & a Book.

If you’d like to connect with Ivy Tech, or learn more about the degree programs they offer, visit https://www.ivytech.edu/southbendelkhart/.

Your feedback is valuable, feel free to reach out anytime (jrea@sbrchamber.com)  with comments, compliments, criticisms, story ideas. I’ll do my best to get back you as soon as possible. Also, follow-us on facebook, Twitter (Jeff_Rea), or at WWW.WNIT.org/economicoutlook for all the latest info on the show.  Enjoy the show!