Northern Indiana partnership says IEDC grants are paying off
Officials in northern Indiana say Manufacturing Readiness Grants awarded by the state last year had a nearly tenfold benefit. The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership says 45 manufacturers in the region received a total of $5.3 million in grants, which helped generate $47.5 million in additional investments.
President and CEO Bethany Hartley said the funding supports an industry that employs 33% of the regional workforce.
“This industry is on the precipice of revolutionary change,” Hartley said in a news release. “We appreciate the state’s foresight in preparing Hoosier companies for new technologies and automation. These grants allow our manufacturers to continue to lead their field.”
Last week, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Conexus Indiana announced it awarded 186 Manufacturing Readiness Grants totaling $22.7 million statewide last year. Those grants in conjunction with matching funds resulted in $352.7 million in capital investments, according to the IEDC.
Launched in 2020, the program aims to help manufacturers increase production efficiency while stimulating private sector investments and modernizing Indiana’s manufacturing industry.
The South Bend-Elkhart partnership says the region’s adoption of new technologies and adaptation to future trends is essential to economic vitality. One such company is New Paris-based Smoker Craft Inc.
The watercraft manufacturer says it is making a multi-million dollar investment in its facility because of, in part, the grant program. It is adding advanced robotics and automated welding systems.
“The industry has seen plenty of change since my family started this business in 1921, and that change is happening faster than ever before,” said Phil Smoker, vice president of sales at Smoker Craft Inc. “The Manufacturing Readiness Grants recognize the importance of the manufacturing industry to Indiana and the overwhelming need for businesses to prepare for what’s to come.”
Since it was established, the IEDC says 384 grants totaling $39 million have been awarded to companies with combined project budgets of $484 million.