Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division has inked a 15-year lease agreement for space at the WestGate Academy in Odon. Crane says the space will be used for workforce development and “front door” capabilities, including its engagement, small business and technology training offices.
NSWC Crane Deputy Technical Director Kyle Werner tells Inside INdiana Business the goal is to create direct access to the naval installation.
“As we’ve seen a lot of growth over the past decade, there’s been an increased demand for the facility space we have on the installation to be very research and development oriented for the science and technology efforts we perform with our technical mission,” said Werner. “The idea really to bring some of the business capabilities out to WestGate for training and workforce development and also to create kind of a front door so that people have access to Crane to understand who we are.”
The WestGate Academy is a 64,000-square-foot facility in the WestGate@Crane Technology Park that serves as a regional hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The lease, which takes effect in June, will provide 14,000 square feet of space for NSWC Crane.
John Mensch, president of WestGate@Crane Authority, calls NSWC Crane a terrific partner for WestGate.
“From additive manufacturing to model-based system engineering to cybersecurity, Crane has the mission and capacity to be part of driving the Indiana economy forward,” Mensch said in written remarks. “WestGate organizations like ours, Techbridge and the Indiana Innovation Institute work in complementary fashion to grow the economic impact of the Navy’s presence in Indiana.”
Werner says the need for more workforce development services is reflected in Crane’s growth over the last decade. He says today, the installation has 3,750 civilian employees, 16 military members and about 2,500 contract partners.
“As we’ve seen that growth, we’ve had great hiring opportunities associated with our scientists, engineers and highly-skilled technicians, which make up about two-thirds of our workforce,” he said. “So, as we’ve continued to grow, we’ve recognized the opportunity to upskill, train and develop the workforce in a significant manner, and the WestGate Academy was really constructed to do that classroom training, workforce development, and provide education. So, it is almost a hand-in-glove fit.”
Looking long-term, Werner says Crane aims to have all of its training, education and workforce development efforts established at WestGate Academy.