To launch its education transformation work statewide, CELL hosted Indiana's Future: Economic Development and the High School Connection in November 2005. Serving as the state's most comprehensive conference on high school models, school improvement and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the conference filled a unique niche within Indiana by connecting education to economic development. The event raised awareness and developed leadership capacity for improving P–16 education statewide. Over 450 school, community and business leaders worked with education reform experts from across the world to discuss high-end systems, policy work and the practical steps necessary to implement high performing schools that emphasize rigor and relevance in their curricula.
As a result of the conference, several groups began implementing cutting-edge high school reform efforts to improve education and the economy of their communities. Through CELL's support and facilitation, these communities continue to redesign schools and involve diverse stakeholders to positively impact education so all students graduate equipped for success in the 21st-century global economy.