The economic development hits seem to just keep on coming for Shelbyville. The latest, plans by Canada-based Greenleaf Foods to build North America’s largest plant-based protein manufacturing facility, is a $310 million investment that could mean 460 jobs. Mayor Tom DeBaun says since 2012, Shelbyville and Shelby County have attracted projects totaling more than 1,200 job commitments and nearly $700 million in investment, much of it foreign direct investment. Shelbyville is now home to 14 Japanese companies. “It’s all about accepting the culture and being diverse in our thinking and because of that we’re hitting home run after home run with our Japanese partners,” said DeBaun, pointing to robust sister city relationships, a teacher exchange program and Japanese curriculum that is taught in local schools.
DeBaun talked about economic development momentum and a focus on workforce development on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Economic development success in Shelby County can also be linked to innovative partnerships, designed to build a trained workforce to fuel growing companies.
Advantage Shelby County is a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College designed to make a college degree or certification more attainable for county residents through financial assistance, advising services and mentoring. Earlier this year, county officials announced applications for the program have grown from 244 in fall 2016 to 407 for the fall 2019 class.
In 2012, Shelbyville and Shelby County formed a partnership with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to create IMPaCT, a program designed to give students, beginning in ninth grade, greater exposure to science, technology, engineering and math, through mentoring and alliances with the school and area businesses.
DeBaun says since its inception, the Rose-Hulman partnership has impacted more than 600 students, while bolstering the county’s advanced manufacturing workforce.