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Notre Dame awarded grant to help economic development

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame joined forces with other schools and local companies to help kick start the economy of the future in Michiana.

A new $42 million grant is going to help the economic futures of Elkhart and South Bend.

A new program will be formed to spur collaboration and innovation among schools, nonprofits, major employers and smaller entrepreneurs.

The program is called the LIFT Network which stands for Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation.

It was announced on Friday by Notre Dame and the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership.

“What it’s going to create is new businesses and new dynamism, that and creativity, spawns creativity, new businesses spawn new businesses so we hope there’s a really wonderful virtuous cycle that we take the first step and that leads to a second step so I think that’s what’s going to happen,” President of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins said.

The goal is to create a highly-educated, technologically advanced workforce and to make the region competitive globally.

“The initial focus will be on the mobility industry because so much of the manufacturing in our region is around the mobility industry, but also a lot in I.T., data analytics, and creating that next generation of industry for our communities,” Vice-president of Notre Dame, John Affleck-Graves said.

 The program will be overseen by Notre Dame, but based at multiple colleges and technology schools.

"We need a talented workforce that able to operate the machines of the future, help our industries grow and thrive, and overall help the increase per capita of personal income for every resident in the region,” President  and CEO of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership Regina Emberton said.

The money for the grant is provided by the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Indianapolis based non-profit started by the drug maker Eli Lilly and Company.

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