Local Task Force Formed to Enhance Shelby County Workforce Readiness

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun today announced that a local task force has been formed to evaluate and strengthen the area’s workforce readiness and the community’s ability to attract and retain business and industry.

The task force idea was the result of discussions that took place as part of a year-long collaborative leadership series sponsored by Indiana American Water.

The task force, which held a summit on February 21, 2013 in Shelbyville, includes participation from a broad cross section of interested stakeholders, including educational institutions, utility service providers, city, county and state elected officials and staff, and area industry and business leaders.

“There are significant economic development and growth opportunities out there for communities that are ready to take advantage of them,” said DeBaun. “As I have talked with companies looking to start new operations, relocate or expand existing facilities, and grow their market share, the common theme I keep hearing is that they are looking for communities to partner with them to ensure there are adequate numbers of potential employees with the necessary skills to staff their operations.

“If we want to successfully compete for these economic development opportunities we must work together to address this issue,” DeBaun continued. “A robust and thriving local economy is an important part of the quality of life we all expect in our community. I look forward to working with each of our key stakeholders in the months ahead to make sure we have the education and training infrastructure and plans in place to ensure our mutual success.”

Jason Brown, City Council representative for Shelbyville’s fifth ward is also enthusiastic about the collaborative effort.

“Companies today are not only looking for employees with basic math and reading skills, but also advanced skills in robotics, programmable logic, and industrial maintenance and manufacturing,” said Brown. “The use of technology in the workplace has now advanced to the point where many companies that have looked at or actually moved operations overseas are now looking to make new business investments back in the United States.

“A key factor in where these companies are choosing to locate is a community’s workforce readiness and the infrastructure to get employees up to speed on the skills and knowledge they need for both entry level and advanced job opportunities,” Brown continued. “We are serious about addressing these needs and making Shelbyville a serious competitor for these jobs now and in the future.”

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