Community Research Institute

Community Research Institute

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Helping leaders make informed decisions

Purdue Fort Wayne's Community Research Institute helps leaders in Northeast Indiana and beyond make informed decisions. CRI does this through contract-based research and analytical services that answer questions with facts and data, not speculation and anecdote. It may come in the form of detailed reports, presentations to various audiences, economic commentary to the public, or spreadsheets and lists that can be formatted to the client’s specifications. CRI serves clients in the public and private sectors, including non-profit organizations.

Agriculture and food report for Northeast Indiana Works and AgriNovus Indiana:

This report looks at agriculture, food processing and manufacturing, culinary and agbioscience industries in a 12-county region. It was written for Northeast Indiana Works and AgriNovus Indiana. The presentation slides are available here.

Vulnerable Populations report:

Written for the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, this report looks at a number of demographic and socioeconomic measures by ZIP code tabulation area to identify vulnerable populations in Allen County and assist with place-based philanthrophy. The full report and a summary can be found on the SJCHF website.

FATOS opioid assessment report:

Sponsored by The Lutheran Foundation, the Fort Wayne Allen County Task Force for Opioid Strategic Planning has released its opioid needs and services assessment. The report is available here. The one page summary is available here. The PDF of the May 23, 2018, presentation is available here.

Downtown Improvement District report:

CRI completed a report analyzing downtown's residents, businesses and workers for the Downtown Improvement District. You can find the report here

Making sense of data

So much data. So little time? We live in the age of numbers, but it can be difficult to know where to find those sources or have the capacity to process it. That’s where CRI comes in. We know where to find the relevant information, and then help you make sense of it. It may come in the form of federal databases, state-level information or proprietary sources. Or we may just pick up the phone and talk to a real, live person when that information isn’t online. Sometimes the answers are found in meetings, interviews or focus groups.

It doesn’t stop with finding the numbers. You need context to know how they fit together or compare to the same information at the local, state or national levels. When you engage CRI, you not only get the ability to find the information; you get the ability to understand it.

Honest information brokers

CRI has developed a reputation as honest information brokers over the years. If you want a consultant to give you a desired answer, we may not be the right fit. We present our clients with the information as we find it – good or bad, not as they wish it would be. These conversations may be difficult or awkward, but ultimately they help leaders make informed decisions.

CRI’s Services

Our services are designed for the client’s individual needs. Sometimes that means we take on a specific project or are under contract for hourly research-on-demand services. These include:

  • Demographic and economic data analysis
  • Fine-grain occupational, industry, and education data and analysis from Emsi
  • Strategic planning
  • Project management
  • Public policy review
  • Presentations
  • Legislative analysis
  • Economic, workforce, and community development support
  • Benchmark and performance metric tracking
  • Meeting facilitation

CRI can help your organization build temporary capacity for research, a program launch or a special project.

CRI connects clients to Purdue Fort Wayne's knowledge base

CRI can be your entry point to the talents and skills of the faculty at northeast Indiana’s comprehensive “metropolitan university.” Perhaps you need a wide-ranging economic impact study or a statistically reliable survey. We can be the conduit between organizations and the capabilities of IPFW’s faculty. If you need services outside CRI's scope, consider IPFW's other Centers of Excellence and the Campus to Community Connections.

CRI in the news

CRI director Rachel Blakeman joined CRI client The Lutheran Foundation's CEO Marcia Haaff to discuss the recent opioid report on Kevin Leininger's "The Fort Report" program.

Local wages are up while unemployment is down, according to data used by CRI for a Journal Gazette Sunday Centerpiece feature. A statewide version looking at data from across Indiana appeared on Inside Indiana Business.

For the Fort Wayne Newspapers Focus 2018 economy story, CRI provided data and commentary about job growth.

CRI director Rachel Blakeman was quoted about the value of population growth, especially net migration, in this Journal Gazette editorial.

CRI, as part of the Purdue Fort Wayne UC2 "Factory Families" series, moderated a panel about today's manufacturing workforce. Learn more with this blog post from the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which includes audio from the event.

The U.S. Survey of Businesses from the Census Bureau gives insight to the industries growing and shrinking in a local economy. Here's what happened in the Fort Wayne MSA in 2015 as compared to 2005.

CRI looks at the educational attainment of the 11 northeast Indiana counties in this Journal Gazette Sunday Centerpiece with a look at "good jobs" that don't require a bachelor's degree

CRI provided the Fort Wayne outlook for the 2018 IU Indiana Business Research Center's Indiana Business Review. 

CRI History

Founded in 1982, CRI has become a trusted partner in northeast Indiana’s business, government and civic communities. Dr. Thomas Guthrie was the founding director, serving until 2003. John Stafford, AICP served as director from 2003 to 2013. Ellen Cutter, AICP was director from 2013 to 2016. Rachel Blakeman, J.D. assumed the director’s position in 2017. CRI is located in downtown Fort Wayne in the 1st Source Building on East Main St. Historically CRI has focused on economic, workforce and population data, but looks to broaden the scope of its research.

Want to know more?

We’d love to meet with you to discuss where your organization is going and how CRI’s services can help your leaders make informed decisions. Give us a call at (260) 481-0274 or send us an e-mail at cri@ipfw.edu.

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