Congressman Joe Donnelly Hosts Summit, Encourages Investments in Skilled Workforce

Yesterday (March 7) Congressman Joe Donnelly, who is the congressman for Indiana's Second Congressional District, which includes Elkhart County, hosted Playing to Win: Indiana’s Future as America’s Manufacturing Leader.

The summit brought together leaders in the manufacturing sector from across the state of Indiana to share ideas and best practices for out-working and out-innovating the competition.

“I am confident that Indiana will maintain its status as a robust manufacturing hub of the United States, but to succeed, we need to ensure our manufacturers have the tools they need to compete,” said Donnelly. “We must provide our students with the skills manufacturers are seeking and enable innovation through incentives. And we must level the playing field for American companies, because we know that we can win a fair fight. The question is how to go about this, and that is why I called this summit of many of our state’s manufacturing leaders, from automakers to medical device manufacturers, educators to entrepreneurs, to discuss how to best position Indiana for the manufacturing economy of the future.”

To direct the conversation, Donnelly hosted two panels. First, representatives from the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Chrysler, United Auto Workers, Ener1 and Cummins spoke on the panel entitled Racing toward Tomorrow: A Sector-Specific Profile of the Automotive Industry.

“This state is at the crossroads of America, and the ecosystem of support designed to help it become the Silicon Valley for electric vehicles drove us here,” said Michael Alma, regional vice president of Ener1. “What we found when we arrived was a wealth of qualified people with skills in automotive engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing and assembly, who are well qualified to help us build our business. We also quickly linked into the strong educational system, including schools like Purdue, Indiana University, Ivy Tech and many others, which will help deliver new talent as the years progress.”

Second, representatives from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Indiana University’s Indiana Business Research Center, Ivy Tech Community College, Brevini Wind USA and OrthoWorx Indiana spoke on the panel entitled Developing a Winning Game Plan: Policy Prescriptions for Continued Growth.

“America has the best and most innovative workers, but the challenges of a global marketplace require that skills and training be constantly upgraded,” said Mike Mitchell, field coordinator for the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “We must make investments in our workforce to ensure that they are equipped to meet the ever increasing demand for talented workers. We need to supply our producers with the engineers, technicians, management, skilled trades, and other specialties so they can invent, commercialize and run the hi-tech factories at the leading edge. This investment in people is every bit as critical as the investments we need in infrastructure and productive facilities.”

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