Tech partnership will make Crawfordsville the “Everytown”

Tech partnership will make Crawfordsville the “Everytown”

This column could be the third part of “Why I love my city”. This week, the League highlights a surprising technology partnership that will help economic development in Crawfordsville and Montgomery County.

In a partnership with Indianapolis-based VisionThree, Crawfordsville will become the “Everytown” of VR technology used to recruit employees and market businesses. Everytown alludes to the idea of ​​an Everyman, an old literary model who brings a message intended to reach the greatest number. In this case, Crawfordsville will be the model of the American community par excellence.

It works like this: VisionThree’s mission is to provide 2D and 3D content to companies to recruit, market and train. In the past year, they launched an educational partnership for Hoosier and Ivy Tech high schools. They will provide immersive experiences for high school students, giving them the chance to try out a future career through virtual reality. They have partnered with a number of communities and districts across the state, from Bartholomew Schools to Elkhart, and now Montgomery County.

What started as discussions with administrators from the county’s three school corporations about the location of a central site turned into discussions with Cheryl Morphew, our county’s economic development coordinator, and Mayor Todd Barton’s office. .

Not only have businesses and the county decided to locate the VisionThree experience at Fusion 54, but the city has decided to partner with VisionThree to make Crawfordsville the model community that users of the system will encounter in virtual reality. Users who wear a pair of VR glasses “walk” through Crawfordsville.

How does this help Crawfordsville and the entire county?

“Ten years ago, the county’s economic goals were ‘jobs jobs,’” Mayor Barton said. “Now we (the economic development team and the mayor’s office) can be very strategic about this. We have hundreds of jobs open and more to come. Now we can consider recruiting higher paying jobs.

Barton is delighted with this partnership. Over the next few months, VisionThree and local leaders will create content that showcases regional strengths. As Barton said, “We have the confidence to do this because our community shows up so well.” When industries visit Montgomery County, many pledge to settle here. Other communities may have a beach or mountains, but Crawfordsville has a host of attractive assets.

“Increased exposure through this virtual reality platform will show us,” Barton said.

Communities like ours have a number of the following characteristics, wrote Edward T. McMahon of the New Hampshire Municipal Association: a vision for the future, a solid inventory of its assets, a plan built around improving of these assets, the vision to use education and incentives (not just regulation) to grow, discernment to choose among development projects, a sense of cooperation for the mutual benefit of neighbors, attention to the community aesthetic and finally strong leadership and engaged citizens.

He goes on to say that thriving communities “involve a wide range of residents in determining and planning for the future” and “capitalize on distinctive assets – architecture, history, natural environment and local businesses – rather than trying to adopt a new and different identity.

We have many “large cross-sections” of residents who are invested in the development of our community. From the leaders of the Main Street Association and the LWVMC Climate, Economic and Health teams, to the many unsung heroes with the Library, the Carnegie Museum, the Lew Wallace Study, the Tennebaum Center, Wabash College, our industries, business owners business, local councils, clubs, religious communities, non-profit organizations, and the list goes on. It’s impossible to label them all, but each contributes to present and future success.

Barton praised Morphew for pioneering the idea of ​​bringing VisionThree here and Dr. Colleen Moran for facilitating School Corporations teamwork on this and other emerging initiatives.

Crawfordsville is the first and currently the only city to create content for VisionThree. The partnership, which synergizes the economic objectives of the county with the VisionThree project, demonstrates confidence in our community. We have a great park system, a good start for a trail system, museums, libraries, a college, strong schools, a promising downtown with the recent boom in “local businesses”. Our energy sources are increasingly sustainable. We have attracted property developers and redeveloped a number of older buildings into housing.

We also have room to grow and improve. While high school students visit Fusion 54, put on virtual reality goggles, and visit a place like Ellis Aviation where they’ll virtually disassemble an engine, our city will be able to send goggles to companies looking for a new site. These companies will save money traveling while still being able to experience Montgomery County.

All content created for VR experiences has costs. The city leverages US bailout funds and tax revenue from TIF companies. Local industries have not yet signed agreements with VisionThree, but as the technology is more widely adopted, they may find that it improves their return on investment, especially if they use state subsidies to offset what ‘they would pay upfront to create marketing and recruiting. content similar to that of the city. In the long term, VisionThree’s educational project will not only hopefully generate more interest in well-paying careers locally, but it will help the county attract more of these jobs.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multidisciplinary organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of key political issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are welcome to join the LWV where practical work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For more information, visit the website or the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, IN Facebook page.

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