Heartland Forward, research institute backed by Waltons, launches in Bentonville

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,838 views 

The first U.S. think tank focused exclusively on the economic situation of the Heartland region has officially launched in Bentonville.

Heartland Forward, spearheaded by members of the Walton family and led by former Walton Fellow and Milken Institute Chief Research Officer Ross DeVol, will focus on economic renewal in the Heartland. It will analyze some of the economic challenges the region is facing compared to the coasts, conducting original research on issues like economic mobility, job growth, and demographic changes.

Talk Business & Politics first reported details of the new think tank in June.

“For too long, Heartland communities and economies have been an afterthought in the national policy discussion,” DeVol said in a statement Tuesday (Oct. 22). “The Heartland faces more economic challenges than the rest of the country, but it also holds immense potential. As the only ‘think and do’ tank dedicated specifically to economic renewal in this region, we look forward to serving as a resource for local leaders and identifying solutions to improve the region’s economic health.”

Working with DeVol as fellows at Heartland Forward will be economists Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin.

Heartland Forward uses the U.S. Census regions of East North Central, West North Central, East South Central, and West South Central to define the Heartland. These regions cover the 20 states in the middle of the country: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

In the coming months, Heartland Forward will publish original research on topics ranging from millennials in the Heartland to the impact of start-ups on Heartland economies.