Indiana Chamber’s Todd Hurst Connects State Initiative’s to Local ‘Cradle to Career’ Muncie Efforts

Local employers and other key stakeholders gather for presentation by Todd Hurst of the Indiana Chamber. Photo by Maggie ManorLocal employers and other key stakeholders gather for presentation by Todd Hurst of the Indiana Chamber. Photo by Maggie Manor

By Kelsey Harrington—

MUNCIE, IN— Earlier this month, a group of area stakeholders from industry, higher education, K-12, and more gathered at the Innovation Connector to hear an update about the Indiana Chamber and its talent development initiatives. Todd Hurst, Executive Director of the state chamber’s Institute for Workforce Excellence, shared a glimpse into the Indiana Prosperity 2035 plan and its goals, connecting the state’s vision for economic acceleration to the local efforts of Cradle to Career Muncie.

Cradle to Career Muncie is a collective impact initiative focused on overcoming generational poverty by raising the level of educational attainment in our community in order to better equip Muncie’s citizens to earn a good, living income. Research completed by Lumina Foundation revealed that by 2020, 65% of all jobs in the United States require some level of post high school training, credential, or degree. Unlocking greater levels of educational attainment is a key strategy towards unlocking family sustaining wages and, subsequently, halting the chain of generational poverty.

The Indiana Prosperity 2035 plan and Cradle to Career Muncie have at their core a focus on the workforce & talent pipeline, K-12 education system, as well as economic growth & innovation. To elevate these priorities, the Chamber advocates for supportive policies at the state and local level. These include legislation that would expand early learning and childcare opportunities, improve reading and literacy, and increase work-based learning and postsecondary attainment for Hoosiers. The Chamber’s Institute for Workforce Excellence is operationally laser-focused on advancing these outcomes by way of increasing educational attainment, labor force participation rate, and employer engagement.

Hurst shared, “State initiatives are only as strong as the buy-in and momentum at the local and regional level. At all levels, collective impact is necessary for alignment and leverage of all resources towards a common goal for positive change.” Cradle to Career Muncie’s community-wide approach to improving outcomes for all cannot be carried out by one single entity or person. The George and Frances Ball Foundation, serving as the backbone organization for the initiative, brings together more than 70 community organizations, local businesses and government, families, and students to drive this transformative change. This month’s convening with guest speaker, Todd Hurst, builds upon the efforts of the Cradle to Career Muncie Career Employment Collaborative Action Network. This collaborative group has been meeting to strategize on more effective connections and cohesion between local employers and local educational systems.


About The George and Frances Ball Foundation

Founded in 1937, George and Frances Ball Foundation was organized exclusively to promote charitable, scientific and educational purposes, with a strong commitment to the needs of East Central Indiana. The Foundation adopted a proactive grantmaking strategy in 2018, which carries forward the education-focused legacy of George and Frances Ball with efforts to increase educational attainment through a community Cradle to Career Initiative. To learn more about the Foundation or Cradle to Career Muncie, please visit or find the George and Frances Ball Foundation page on Facebook.