The leaders of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp. warned elected officials last week against letting a shortage of quality workers creep up on them.

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, President Mark Dobson spoke to current and newly elected officials from the county and from cities including Elkhart, Nappanee, Middlebury and Bristol about how the EDC could help them attract and retain businesses in their communities.

One of the biggest concerns now among both existing employers and potential new ones is lack of workforce, said Dobson and Chris Stager, vice president of retention and expansion.

“When you look at site selection factors, the availability of skilled labor is more important than real estate now,” Dobson said. “Without a labor pool, they write off communities… I’ve heard them say we have a hyper-crazy workforce, they’re dedicated, we just don’t have enough of them. They’re impressed with the quality, but quantity is an issue.”

He said they should take it as a warning sign when an Elkhart business creates jobs in another county, as when Lippert Components announced 125 new jobs in New Haven in 2015 with its acquisition of Signature Seating. The town had just seen 400 jobs lost with the closures of Vera Bradley and Parker Hannifin.

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