A coalition of Allen County educators and businesses which wants to highlight career opportunities for young people in skilled trades is getting a new name and new management. Previously known as the Gateway Coalition, it’s now called the MadeByMe Coalition.
As part of the transition, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the chamber of commerce and economic development association for Fort Wayne and Allen county, now runs the operation. "There’s a huge opportunity for young people interested in the skilled trades. The pay is competitive, the skills are in high demand, and the training gets you into the job market quickly,” said John Urbahns, president and CEO of GFW Inc.
The Northeast Indiana Works office formed the coalition five years ago. Since then business leaders have tried to raise awareness about careers in manufacturing, construction, and other skilled trades. "We can’t build a nationally recognized economy without a great workforce—and that includes manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and others in the skilled trades," added Urbahns.
According to data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, 20 percent of the jobs in Allen County are connected to skilled trades. The average annual salary for manufacturing workers in the county is just over $76,000.
MadeByMe coalition also warns of a worker shortage due to Baby Boomers retiring. DWD estimates reveal more than 23,000 production jobs in Allen County could open in the next decade.
Urbahns said the mission of the coalition remains the same.