Laura Walls, Executive Director of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation appeared before the Marshall County Commissioners this week with an update of activities. She said, “On the project front we are currently working on twelve active projects. Six of them are business attractions and six of them are business expansions and retention. These projects are throughout the county, a couple in Argos, in Bourbon, a couple in Plymouth, they are spread out.”
MCEDC’s vision of a project is if it is very active. Walls said, “These we are working on almost a daily basis or definitely weekly. In some cases, we are a finalist or have been selected.”
On the workforce side Walls said they are working with the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership and the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network through a grant from the Lilly Endowment. The LIFT Network Internship Program connects students from regional colleges and universities to internships at local companies focused on advanced industries such as technology, manufacturing, data science and analytics, supply chain or logistics management, and research and development. The first company to utilize the grant is in Marshall County. There are two employees that will be skilled up in the robotic technician field.
Greg Hildebrand from MCEDC spoke to the Commissioners about the Manufacturing Center and said, “There was an issue with the bar-trusses that were delivered. They were too long and had to be reworked.” He said the steel erector was scheduled to be back on site this week. While they lost about a month of work, they believe they can make some of that lost time up with good weather.
Laura Walls told the commissioners they have submitted the Manufacturing Building for eight projects so far this year. She said half came from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the other half from their own marketing efforts.
Commissioner Overmyer said, “I was just concerned with the Manufacturing Center since the county deeded the property to MCEDC with the understanding we will get paid at some point in time.” Walls said they increased the asking price of the building to cover the interest cost while the steel was being reworked and the increase in construction materials. They have placed a $2.5 million price tag on the 43,000 square foot building. She said it was a competitive price.
Hildebrand also discussed the Veteran’s Portal which was put on hold during the COVID pandemic. He explained it as a website designed for retiring veterans. They can put in their (Measures of Effectiveness) MOEs in and the portal will match them up with jobs in our county. He said they are getting ready to go live with the site and market it to employers in the county who will place job availabilities on the site.
Overmyer said the Veteran’s Portal started with then Senator Joe Donnelly who assisted in getting the county hooked up with the Department of Defense. He said, “As service men and women retire out they can look at job availability in our county.”