An area that was formerly a poster child for the Great Recession now has a problem it could only have dreamed of nine years ago.
As reported by the Daily Telescope, like many communities across the country, Indiana’s Elkhart County has a website and a marketing pitch aimed at attracting new business investment to its northern Indiana niche. Unlike many communities, however, Elkhart County has had to divert some of its marketing budget to a slightly different kind of target — not companies but workers. In fact, lots of workers, from just about anywhere on the globe.
“Today the number of open, unfilled positions in our local industries is almost as critical as the lack of such positions were in 2008, when the local unemployment rate hovered around 20%,” said Mark Dobson, president/CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “We don’t have enough qualified people to fill the new jobs that are rapidly opening up on a daily basis. I know this falls in the category of ‘a nice problem to have,’ but eventually it will not be if large employers’ needs for skilled labor keep growing.”
Last year, Elkhart County had 14 significant business expansions and one company relocating into its market, creating a need for 2,500 new employees. In 2017, 10 more companies had significant growing, increasing the need for another 3,000 employees. Plus, three new companies moved to Elkhart County. Currently, there are 20 sites under construction in the market that serve the RV industry, which adds another 3,500 employee minimum demand.
“We’re booming!” says Dobson. “Faster than the rate of U.S. Census Bureau growth.”
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