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home : most recent : statewide implications December 16, 2018

5/3/2018 6:54:00 PM
Japanese and Indiana officials discuss training and retaining workers

Jeong Park, Journal and Courier Reporter

WEST LAFAYETTE — Japanese companies employ more than 65,000 people in Indiana.

Just look at Subaru of Indiana Automotive, which employs more than 5,600 workers in Lafayette and is one of the biggest employers in Greater Lafayette.

But how can those companies continue to find workers? With a low unemployment rate, Indiana now has a problem not of creating, but of filling those jobs. 

"We have too much of a good thing," said Naoki Ito, Consul-General of Japan in Chicago.

Ito and other Japanese and Indiana officials spoke at Purdue University on Wednesday as part of Ito's office's "Grassroots Caravan" tour. Ito and other Japanese officials have been traveling to Midwest communities as part of their community outreach. 

Some potential hurdles exist when it comes to a partnership between Japan and Indiana, such as proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. But the officials primarily discussed the significance of the partnership and how Indiana can better develop its workers for Japanese companies. 

"(The tariffs) shouldn't be the issue that hinders Indiana-Japan partnership," Ito said. 

More than 280 Japanese companies operate facilities in Indiana, Ito said.

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