Conexus Indiana views advanced manufacturing and logistics through the lens of Indiana’s industry, academic and public-sector partners and collaborates with them to identify opportunities and challenges that impact Hoosiers and the industry at-large.
Through industry-led councils, Conexus Indiana has successfully created solutions for the continued growth of the aerospace and defense, logistics and automotive industry clusters. With more than 300 members, these councils have developed high school and post-secondary curriculum and educational pathways, given students on-the-job experience, partnered with colleges and high schools to engage and excite students about industry opportunities, informed and educated state legislators on issues important to the industry’s growth, served as a voice for the industry in overseas trade missions and more.
For years, manufacturing companies have struggled to find skilled talent. Part of the challenge rests with misperceptions of the industry as dirty, low-skill and low-paying. Another challenge has been finding talent with the right skills – both technical skills and soft skills. Several automotive manufacturers in Indiana – and members of the Conexus Indiana Automotive Council – identified military veterans as an ideal talent pool for careers in the automotive manufacturing industry and had recruited veterans to Indiana to work in their facilities.
Knowing the companies’ interest in recruiting veterans for jobs in Indiana, Conexus Indiana worked with these manufacturers to fortify a recruitment and training effort aimed specifically at U.S. veterans. Called INvets, the program launched with the support of five Indiana automotive manufacturers – Allison Transmission, Faurecia, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, Subaru of Indiana Automotive and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana.
Today, INvets partners with major employers throughout Indiana who value the skills and experience gained through military service. These companies are working with INvets to recruit veterans to fill thousands of high-paying positions across Indiana. In addition to pooling resources to recruit veterans, INvets helps promote Indiana as a great place to live and work and offers veterans information about the benefits of working in Indiana – from job training programs to pathways to a career.
As the 2017 Indiana General Assembly studied much-needed funding solutions for the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, Conexus Indiana and its industry partners were called to provide information and data that helped to inform legislation. The result was the state’s largest, most comprehensive infrastructure investment Indiana has ever made. Indiana lawmakers passed legislation ensuring $1.2 billion in new funding for Indiana’s roads and bridges over 20 years, with $900 million in new annual funding for state roads and bridges by 2024, and $300 million for local community roads and bridges.
The roads and bridges funding package has been a key priority for the Indiana logistics industry. More than 50 statewide logistics executives, who have served the past 10 years as members of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council, identified the need for improved infrastructure and long-term sustained funding to ensure Indiana maintains its position as the “Crossroads of America.” The Council issued several strategic plans that outlined infrastructure maintenance and improvement needs, as well as recommendations for new infrastructure projects. Its latest plan outlined detailed funding recommendations, many of which served as the foundation for the state legislators and the $1.2 billion funding bill.
The state will now have $2 billion per year for maintenance and new capacity that will alleviate bottlenecks, create safe roads and allow for greater economic development.