More than 300 Wayne County high school students are touring seven local manufacturers this month, possibly inspiring some of them to work in one soon.

Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County organized the Oct. 6 tours for Richmond, Northeastern, Lincoln and Hagerstown students at Madison-Kipp, Ahaus Tool & Engineering, Blue Buffalo, Transcendia, SugarCreek and Dot Foods.

They also received lunch, a Home in Wayne battery pack and information from Ivy Tech Community College as part of the national Manufacturing Day initiative.

While Centerville Senior High School juniors were taking their SATs on Oct. 11, 125 seniors toured Primex Plastics and visited Indiana University East to explore various career opportunities.

Over the next decade, 4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will need to be filled.

Annual budget

At their Oct. 4 meeting, the EDC board approved its 2024 budget of approximately $775,000. It’s an increase of about 3.5%.

Most of the increase is about $25,000 for salary increases, health insurance premiums and related expenses such as payroll taxes and retirement contributions. Additional modifications were made. Staff recommended decreasing travel/lodging/meals and dues/subscriptions/fees by $2,000 each and increasing staff training and education by $1,000.

County officials had suggested no changes.

In other business

  • Asbestos has been removed from the structures on the newly purchased Midwest Industrial Park land in Richmond and a contractor has submitted a bid for removal of a manufactured home. Sarah Mitchell said she’s also working with firefighters and an excavator on plans for a controlled burn and demolition.
  • Discussions are taking place regarding potential water infrastructure improvements at Gateway Industrial Park in Cambridge City such as looping the system in the park. EDC staff plan to meet with representatives of potential state and federal funding agencies.
  • East Central Indiana is planning for its READI 2.0 (Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative) application to seek up to $75 million in state funds. This round’s application doesn’t have to identify specific projects, but EDC President Valerie Shaffer said it’s important to have an idea how much each would cost and have funding sources lined up for the local share of the 4:1 state match. A regional call for project ideas is planned, so area residents are encouraged to think about ways the funds could be spent.
  • Regarding the Make My Move project to recruit remote workers, six have moved to Richmond. Five movers (higher than the three last month) have accepted Wayne County’s offer and have 6 months to complete their move. Four offers were pending.
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A version of this article appeared in the October 18 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.