If you have ever read my profile or my blog you will notice that I quite often fondly refer to the "Banks of the Buck Creek" or Crick as I say it. Well the Buck Creek runs thru my beloved Delaware County. I left the Muncie area in 1981 to attend college in Ohio and really never had the chance to return to my hometown. College turned into careers that took me around the country and Europe before landing back in Central Indiana. I have always had the dream to move all the way back home but have yet to find the right situation to "Get r done".
Recently, as we find when we get older my wife and I have had to head home for funerals. A couple of weeks ago we had to return home for one of those funerals. After that we took a couple of hours to look around Muncie to see what was going on. What a shock to our system it was to see our once booming home town turned into a ghost town. Many of the business's and locations we remember are gone. I seemed to see as many "For Sale" signs on commercial buildings as I did actual business signage.
Growing up in a middle class neighborhood where my friends parents where business owners, school teachers, factory workers and government employee's we thought we had everything. And what a life we had. I can't count the number of my friends whose parents worked for Chevrolet, GM or Warner Gear (BorgWarner).
While I know this has been tough on Anderson it has slapped Muncie pretty hard also. Now the latest hit is the upcoming shut down of BorgWarner. You can read the article in the Muncie Star or their Editorial by clicking the highlights.
Another 500 jobs leaving. But there is great news and assistance from the state!
BorgWarner employees have some powerful tools at their disposal to help them in the transition to new careers. Officials from United Auto Workers Local 287, BorgWarner, WorkOne and Ivy Tech Community College have been working to set up an array of opportunities such as job fairs, career counseling and résumé workshops.
Wow, the powerful tools are job fairs, career counseling and resume workshops? So we can bring in the big guns to let you know how much it costs to go to Ivy Tech, counsel you on and help you build a resume to land one of those new telemarketing jobs in Daleville for $7.50 an hour.
While I appreciate it is not the state's job to give these workers anything. But it is the State's job to lure business to the state.
Here is my challenge if either Mitch or JLT if they want to play!
Muncie is a great place to make this happen.
I spent almost 17 years in the packaging machinery business. This is the industry that supplies the manufacturing equipment to the life science industries and consumer goods industries. In easy terms if you walk into any grocery store or drug store, everything on those shelves was produced by packaging machinery.
While I am in agreement that we must work toward more college graduates and retain them in Indiana we must also create a highly trained workforce in manufacturing. Each and every life science company we talk about here in Indiana uses this machinery.
Let's build a state of the art training program similar to the program at The University of Wisconsin - Stout in the packaging machinery industry. We could then have a 2 year program for machinery and a 4 year degree in packaging. I am not going to get into the specifics here but there are assets all over Indiana to make this work.
We then could be the leader in luring great high tech, life science, consumer goods and machinery manufacturer's to Indiana that offer great jobs to our college grads and our hard working middle class. Yes all of the industries that Indiana talks about are 100% still manufacturing items that use this equipment and after spending 17 years on the factory floors of companies like Eli Lilly I have yet to ever see a scientist come down from the lab to fix the capping machine when it was not working right.
So if either campaigns wants to chat about an idea that would actually work, give me a call.