Filling the Skills Gap in S.E. Indiana

Outstanding event in Columbus this morning, the official kick-off of the “Dream It! Do It!” drive in southeastern Indiana. Organizers made many powerful observations about the opportunities available in manufacturing, a message the initiative is targeting toward 12- to 26-year-olds.

The 10-country region that has united behind “Dream It! Do It!” is a manufacturing powerhouse, with about a third of the workforce employed in the sector. And in attracting major new manufacturing facilities, the region finds itself needing ever more employees who are engaged and interested in pursuing a career in the field. As the NAM’s official news release reports:

“This program will help build on our recent successes with the Cummins expansion, the new Honda plant and dozens of other economic development projects in southeastern Indiana,” said Governor Mitch Daniels at Monday’s launch in Columbus.

“Thousands of advanced manufacturing jobs are — or soon will be — available in Southeast Indiana, and they need to be filled with a workforce that is regionally trained,” said John Burnett, chairman of Dream It. Do It. SE Indiana. Dream It. Do It. SE Indiana will align our education, workforce and economic growth strategies so that more individuals can be aware of and participate in the great opportunities afforded by careers in advanced manufacturing.”

“Cummins made the decision to locate our new light duty diesel engine plant and invest $250 million in Columbus, largely because of the commitment by all stakeholders to support the Dream It. Do It campaign in Southeast Indiana,” said Joe Loughrey, president and chief operating officer of Cummins, Inc., and chairman of The Manufacturing Institute.

Joe’s remarks really emphasized the regional, cooperative and forward-looking nature of the initiative. A solid nine minutes of comments that really captures what “Dream It! Do It!” is all about. You can listen to them by clicking here.

More upon our return ….But until then, just one observation. It is great to attend an event organized by manufacturers: Well managed, on time, and it produces the desired outcome. Just-in-time event planning!