HEA has emerged from a long history of community conversations. These conversations began in 2002 with the Horizon Project, a community initiative to re-shape Elkhart County’s future. In 2009, Elkhart County became the county hardest hit by the recession, with an unemployment rate of over 18%. In response, more than 200 community leaders came together and identified education as the single most effective strategy for strengthening Elkhart County. HEA was launched in 2012, and now includes all seven public school superintendents, local business leaders and other community leaders on its board.