The new Vincennes University Advanced Manufacturing Center in Gibson County opened its doors this semester. This is a great addition for VU, but why is it important to District 74? First, it puts advanced training and degree programs within driving range for many Warrick, Spencer, Gibson and northern Perry County residents as this facility is located just north of I-64 on Hwy 41. Vincennes University's Jasper Center has similar plans for a facility to be built at the Jasper campus which will increase access, as well. Both of these facilities will supplement the degree options already offered at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) which offers advanced manufacturing and industrial supervision bachelareate degrees.
Our region is a hub for manufacturing with the largest number of jobs in most of our counties coming from manufacturing. This industry has been under pressure as commodity manufacturing with its low-cost jobs have gone overseas. Companies which are succeeding and growing generally utilize computer-controlled equipment, robotics, and high-tech equipment in the manufacturing process. As a result, these jobs employ a much higher skilled worker often with a two or four year degree in electronics, robotics, mechatronics, advanced manufacturing, industrial supervision or engineering degrees. These jobs typically pay in excess of $40,000 per year... and often much more than that. Further, they are much less physically demanding than manufacturing jobs of the past. This has opened the field to women and others who might not have considered these jobs in the past.
The demand for advanced manufacturing workers is expected to increase. And, as our workforce gains these skills, we will also be more attractive to additional employers who may choose to locate here for the quality workforce. Our part of the state has always enjoyed a reputation of employees who have a strong work ethic, but we will also have to have the advanced training and skills needed. Kudos to Vincennes University for its commitment to helping us prepare our local workforce for high quality jobs of the future.
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)