Earlier this year, the Brookings Institution released an expansive global report that tracks whether or not the world’s 300 largest metropolitan areas have recovered from the recession, and ranks each one’s growth. It’s an interesting set of data: China boasts 15 of the 20 best-performing metro areas, and the United States’ first appearance on the list is Austin, at 65th place. Though not all of the populations that we here at National Able Network serve live nearest these large metro areas, their economies have an enormous impact throughout our service area.

Throughout the “Navigating the Uneven Recovery” series, we’ve taken a look at the economic picture for Chicago and Boston, and today I want to take a closer look at the connection between the economic performance of a particular metro area that directly affects the lives of many of our clients – Indianapolis – and compare that to the experiences of our clients throughout the state of Indiana. To do that, I asked our expert service staff in Indiana to take a look at the data.

According to the Brookings monitor rankings, Indianapolis has recovered from the recession, although overall growth has been slow through the post-Recession period. The region’s economy grew less than one percent per capita in that time, and employment growth was only slightly better at 1.6 percent. This means that Indianapolis, in 144th place, grew marginally faster than the median of the 300 metros tracked globally.

I asked our Director of Workforce Services and Development, Kurt Kegerreis, in Indiana to take a look at those numbers and share what things look like on the ground there, in the lives of our clients. He had this to say:

“While Indianapolis’ size makes any change in its fortunes ripple throughout the state, many of our clients live well away from the metro area itself. With clients all over the state, we face challenges with delivering employment services fine-tuned to the rural landscape, where change is much slower and opportunity can sometimes be even scarcer.

“We focus on reaching clients where they are, by sending front-line staff into small communities across the state and equipping our Career Coaches with remote access to our infrastructure and training resources. With these tools we help hundreds of jobseekers every year, no matter what economic landscape they face.”

The expertise of National Able Network’s staff in Indiana and in all of our service areas makes it possible for us to bring the rising tide of economic growth (even when that tide comes in slowly) to individuals who might otherwise be stranded on the shore. Thanks to the efforts of Kurt, and nonprofit professionals like him within our agency and across the nation, thousands upon thousands of individuals in need find success in education, employment, and other opportunities each year.

Stay tuned for our next installment of the “Navigating the Uneven Recovery” series where we will focus on the recovery of Maine and New Hampshire.