Survey: Indiana has manufacturing jobs, but lacks qualified workers

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) A new survey said Indiana has a major need for manufacturing jobs but there aren’t enough students interested in the field.

The 2017 Indiana Manufacturing Survey also talked about how companies in Indiana are investing more money to support more advanced manufacturing.

It’s a field vital to the Hoosier economy.

“It’s nearly about $100 billion piece of Indiana’s GDP,” said Mark Frohlich, a professor with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, who helped put together this study.

He said there are high-paying entry-level jobs out there, sometimes in the six figures, but the state said thousands of manufacturing jobs are out there without people qualified to fill the posts.

“Requires at least a couple years of technical training something beyond what you would get in high school,” he said.

Many students still think of manufacturing as a rough and tough, smoke and dirt filled career.

“This is not your grandpa’s factory floor anymore,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb.

But still Frohlich said companies are expanding and investing in their plants facilities.

“Products are getting smarter, the automation the machinery that’s getting automated is smarter but you need workers to go along with that too,” he said.

At an Indiana Manufacturing Association luncheon Gov. Holcomb said there needs to be a push to educate kids at a young age.

He learned on his recent trip to Japan that fifth graders are touring nearby factory plants.

“They’re exposing kids at a very early age about cool jobs that are right across the street so we have to do that as business owners ourselves,” he said.

The governor also talked about the state’s new grant program, the next level jobs initiative, to pay for people to go back to school and get re-trained for high-demand job industries, including manufacturing.

For more information on that program, click HERE.