A report released June 11 by the Indy Partnership revealed that Indiana’s Johnson County has a talent pipeline of more than 59,000 workers to draw from in jobs relating to manufacturing and is a major reason why the county drew in a diverse number of projects in 2006.
The study takes into account the total number of underemployed and unemployed manufacturing workers who are likely to commute into Johnson County. By drawing workers from Marion, Monroe, Hendricks and Shelby counties, Johnson remains primed to attract more manufacturing projects.
Last year, Arbonne International created 400 new jobs and opened a new 208,000-square-foot distribution center in Greenwood and found a strong workforce.
“Our center in Johnson County is one of our best-performers due to the skilled workforce we found here,” said Bob Henry, chairman of Arbonne International. “We were able to quickly get the right people in place and were up and running in no time.”
In 2005, NSK Precision America moved its corporate headquarters to Franklin in order to create more efficiency. Since the move, NSK has continued to hire new workers and has found a hard-working and skilled workforce.
“We have been very happy with our decision to move our headquarters here. We have found central Indiana workers to have a strong work ethic and yet understand how to balance work with life,” said Brian Kemple, senior manager of operations for NSK.
The talent pipeline is also surging in Johnson County due to the Central Nine Career Center. Central Nine Career Center is affiliated with 10 area high schools and provides training on a variety of manufacturing core skills including: welding, computer drafting, electronics, information technology and machine tools.
“We are committed to matching employer needs with students who have done the real-world work. If an employer has new equipment they are using, we will partner with them so that our students can learn a new process immediately,” said Roberta Jackson, lead project consultant for the Central Nine Career Center.
The 100,000-square-foot campus is comprised of seven buildings for classrooms, laboratories, offices and other instructional resource facilities. The school can accommodate 500 students at two sessions per day.
“Our students really have a broad skill set when they graduate. They will not only understand their specialty area but other areas so they can be a more productive employee, and really that’s what employers look for in manufacturing today – multiple disciplines,” said Jackson.
Further contributing to the surplus of an advanced manufacturing workforce in Johnson County were some recent job cuts in the Indianapolis metro area, which have left many workers looking for new opportunities. Two major companies – DaimlerChrysler and International Truck & Engine – collectively laid off more than 1,250 workers. Commuting patterns suggest that many of these same workers are actively seeking employment in and around Johnson County.
Many new opportunities are also available due to a number of key expansions in Johnson County during 2006. Klaisler Manufacturing relocated its Indianapolis facility to Franklin and will double its current workforce. KYB Manufacturing North America doubled the size of its Franklin facility by adding a 264,000-square-foot expansion and creating an additional 51 jobs. Endress+Hauser Inc. has almost completed a $17 million facility expansion to its Greenwood campus and will be adding 50 new jobs.
If commuting patterns continue to feed into this area, a number of manufacturing projects may land in the county during 2007 and further demonstrate that Johnson County is a prime destination for manufacturing growth.
About the Indy Partnership
The Indy Partnership is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization charged with spurring capital investment and job growth in central Indiana. For more information, visit www.indypartnership.com.