Indiana is a Home Run for the Manufacturing Industry

In 1871, the first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And today, almost 141 years later, Indiana is proving to be more than just a great place to hold baseball games, it has become a welcoming host to the manufacturing industry.

In 2003, Brian Emerick narrowed the focus of his Columbia City, Indiana based manufacturing plant to concentrate on the medical device industry after business in other segments had slowed down. Today, Mr. Emerick says it was the greatest move he ever made for his privately owned company, Micropulse Inc. Now, Micropulse has upwards of 200 employees and operates out of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Columbia City, Indiana, just 30 minutes outside of Warsaw where medical device manufacturing moguls such as Biomet, Symmetry Medical and Zimmer are headquartered. Fortunately, Columbia City is far enough from the Warsaw that is has no trouble finding qualified help. Emerick says, “There’s a rich manufacturing heritage in the area. It’s a very stable climate”. Micropulse has experienced steady expansion since it started and with the help of Whitley County and the state of Indiana it’s been able to further its business even more. In 2007, Micropulse was given tax cuts and matching funds to help add 47,000 square feet to their manufacturing facility in Columbia City.

While Warsaw has proven to be the orthopedic device manufacturing capital of the world, Northeast Indiana is in close second. With Fort Wayne at its center, the 10 county region is home to over 60 medical device companies that employ almost 2,000 workers. The areas proximity to Warsaw is also a major factor. In fact, it was a major selling point to Iotron Industries Canada Inc., a manufacturer that uses electron-beam radiation technology to sterilize agricultural products and medical devices. Iotron, which is based out of Vancouver, is currently finishing up a $15.3 million project that will build a new 54,000 square foot facility near Columbia County which is due to start production in 2012.

Not too far from Iotron, Fort Wayne Metals, which already has six facilities in Northeast Indiana, is expanding their production capabilities even more with a $12.9 million expansion project that hopes to create approximately 68 jobs by 2014. The metal manufacturer produces fine-grade wire used in medical tools.

While the medical device manufacturing industry is booming in the region, Northeast Indiana’s largest money makers continue to be industries such as transportation equipment, metals and plastics and rubber. General Motors is the region’s biggest industry employer and just recently announced in October that they will invest almost $275 million in its Fort Wayne plant in order to develop its next generation pickup truck.

Government officials in the region have made it a top priority to make sure the 335,000 industrial employees in the region continue to be properly prepared and placed for their work in the manufacturing field. With this effort in mind, there is a $20 million grant in the works, named the Talent Initiative, which plans to improve the industrial skill sets of the areas labor force. The Talent Initiative, which is being funded by a philanthropic foundation based in Indianapolis, will attempt to retrain adult workers for manufacturing jobs that are evolving due to changing technologies, expand engineering programs at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and start New Tech high schools that utilize project based learning models in an effort to keep the youth interested in the manufacturing industry.

While government intervention is a great way to amp up industrial training, ultimately the responsibility is left to manufacturing employers to ensure their workforce is properly trained with the right industrial skill sets. At ITC Learning we offer superior industrial training that is offered through a variety of mediums, each of which enables trainees to educate themselves on the basic and advanced industrial skills sets necessary in the manufacturing industry. Contact ITC Learning today to find out how you can get stared.

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