ANDERSON – Seeing numerous jobs in Anderson going unfilled, Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. is developing an internship program to provide local residents with the necessary skills.
Broderick recently returned from a trip to Japan where he met with officials from five companies with a presence in Anderson to strengthen relationships for possible future expansion.
Broderick said Thursday that he has gotten a commitment from several of those companies and an interest to participate from others in a job training program.
The Anderson group, which included Economic Development Director Greg Winkler and Rob Sparks of the Corporation for Economic Development, met with NTN Driveshaft, NTK Precision Axle, GTI, Hitachi Transport, Keihin North America, Maeda Corp. and Moriroku.
“Workforce development was a big concern,” Broderick said of the meetings. “It is an issue across Indiana and the country.
“There are a lot of job opportunities here,” he said. “We want to form partnerships between the companies and the city to develop the local workforce.”
Broderick said the city plans to sponsor an internship program to begin on April 1 to train people over a four- to six-week period for placement in local factories.
“The companies would consider those people who have completed the program as potential employees,” he said.
In addition to working with the local companies, the city will partner with Anderson Community Schools, the District 26 Career Center, Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue University to develop the training program.
“When they start the paid internship program they have to be drug free and show up on time,” Winkler said. “They also have to put their cellphone aside for eight hours.”
Broderick said a challenge is what the difference is between traditional manufacturing and advanced manufacturing.
“Unfortunately, Anderson experienced a loss of skilled trade workers,” he said. “We need to bring those opportunities back. We not only want to attract young people to Anderson but encourage people to live and work in the city.”
The internship training program will be available to high school students, people currently out of work or for those wanting to improve their job skills, Broderick said.
“We want to have our own model in place for our own community,” he said.
Broderick said currently when a company hires an employee they are basing it on resumes.
“It’s a guessing game,” he said. “We want to identify people who see the value and opportunities or working in Anderson.”
Winkler said the average cost of training a worker is $9,000 and there is a high turnover rate.
“If we can help them lower that turnover rate, they may be willing to pay a higher rate,” he said.
Winkler said the internship program will take a lot of coordination and the companies have to be involved.
Broderick said because of Anderson’s location along Interstate 69, just north of the Indianapolis metropolitan region, companies can attract workers.
“We want people working here who live in the city,” he said. “It’s important we made education relevant to the world we live in today.”