[r63] Messmer Report: Crane Naval Base: One of Indiana's best partners in creating high-tech, high-paying jobs

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, September 2, 2011

Recently I organized for a group of state legislators, including myself, to take a tour of Crane Naval Base. Crane is located in District 63 and it seems that many Hoosiers I speak to don't know much about the base. Over the years, and during other similar tours, I have learned quite a bit about the many research and development projects that Crane does for the military, their excellent community outreach programs and also, impressively, how the facility pumps a tremendous amount of money into the economy: more than $2 million a day.

The majority of the work done at Crane is science and engineering based.  Of their more than 5,000 employees, about 2,000 are civilian engineers working on solutions to 'support the warfighter', which is their motto at Crane. Most of their work in the last 10 years has been to provide data and equipment to keep our soldiers prepared and safe. They make sure that everything they test and create is 100 percent reliable; there is no room for error when it comes to a soldier's life.

In addition to providing our military with what they need, Crane has started programs to increase their community involvement across the state. Crane partners with all of the universities in our state on many projects. Their collaborative efforts are bringing great recognition for both the students at these universities and the engineers at Crane.

One of their most successful university partnerships has been with University of Southern Indiana (USI). Crane created a K-12 outreach program called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This program has had great success through USI and area elementary, middle and high schools. Crane's focus is getting kids interested in working towards science and engineering degrees when they go to college. The world is changing and we will continue to need more and more people with those degrees to perform the high-tech work of the future.

 If we want Crane, as well as other businesses in Indiana to continue to grow, we will need these young people to fill the open positions on the base. As state legislators, an important problem we are trying to address is 'brain drain'.  We must keep our talented, well-educated young people in Indiana, instead of risking them moving to other states for high-tech, high-paying jobs.

Finally, Crane is working diligently to increase the amount of money they spend with Indiana companies. Last year, Crane spent $100 million in Indiana and during our visit they told us they have a goal to double that as soon as possible. They have started working to reach out to Indiana small businesses that might have products or ideas they can use.

Part of those efforts is through the Buy Indiana Expo. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Crane will be hosting the Buy Indiana Expo at the French Lick Resort and Casino from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The purpose of the Buy Indiana Expo is for Hoosier business owners to connect with Crane and to learn more about possible government contracts. It is a unique opportunity. If you would like more information, please contact the Linton Chamber of Commerce at 812-847-4846 or email them at info@lintonchamber.org.

I have barely scratched the surface of the enormous and impressive things Crane is accomplishing. We are lucky to have such an excellent high-tech operation that is working to boost Indiana's economy, supporting our children's futures, protecting our troops and continuing to grow.