’s Elkhart Project kicks off today's Elkhart Project kicks off today has launched “The Elkhart Project,” a special editorial initiative that will tell the story of the nation’s economic crisis through the residents of Elkhart, Ind. The Elkhart Project ( is a sustained and in-depth approach to covering the worst American financial crisis since the Great Depression. and NBC News will document the personal stories of struggle and survival in this small Midwestern city where the recession has hit hard.

Elkhart, which once enjoyed a thriving recreational vehicle production industry, is representative of many American manufacturing cities now suffering from a shortage of credit for businesses and individuals, rising unemployment, and a skyrocketing number of foreclosures. By January 2009, employment in the Elkhart metro area had fallen 9.4 percent from a year earlier, the worst decline in the nation. Industrial production fell 21.9 percent, also the worst.

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