Editor's Note: Copy supplied by Hoosier Energy
Regional strength has already been established for the automotive industry to thrive in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois thanks to a business-friendly climate, an able and ready workforce, and infrastructure to support growth for new and existing businesses.
Automotive giants Cummins, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota already call the region home and have found a recipe for success creating an industrial hotbed. According to Harold Gutzwiller, manager of Key Accounts and Economic Development at Hoosier Energy, “The combination of a skilled workforce, Midwest connectivity to leading automotive clusters, plus a business-friendly climate and affordable cost of living provides plentiful opportunities for businesses and their employees to thrive.”
This is due in part to the ongoing efforts of the 18 electric distribution cooperatives of Hoosier Energy, and their community and economic development partners. Hoosier Energy’s economic development team is focused on the continued growth of the region’s automotive cluster.
An industry cluster analysis by Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) in April 2018 found several key competitive advantages of Hoosier Energy’s 59-county territory in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. From an economic climate ready to support automotive businesses and proximity to large industrial markets, there is already an established workforce in the industry and opportunities for new and expanding businesses to employ local residents.
According to TPMA’s findings, the Hoosier Energy region is within 250 miles of seven of the top 10 largest automotive cluster markets, based on total employment in the cluster. Altogether, 50 percent of U.S. automotive cluster jobs are in Indiana and Illinois or neighboring states.
The automotive strength of the region does not hinge on just one or two businesses as the majority of counties in the Hoosier Energy region have at least two times the national rate of automotive workers. Additionally, the region has shown widespread growth over the past five years, adding nearly 8,000 automotive cluster jobs since 2012.
In addition to the workforce and business climate strengths within the Hoosier Energy region, the area is a vital part of the regional hotbed for automotive production that is the Midwest. Because of this connectivity with other states, Indiana and Illinois rank highly in shipments of motorized vehicles. Indiana particularly is a profitable place for automotive production, as the state ranks high in both motor vehicle production and automotive job concentration.
Gutzwiller noted, “It’s a credit to the vision and leadership of our electric cooperatives that global automotive leaders such as Honda have chosen to invest in the Hoosier Energy region, and based on TPMA’s findings, I expect to see this trend carry on into the future.”