As the epicenter of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, Indiana has a compelling story to tell about how Hoosier companies make and move the goods people depend on every day.

Our goal is to ensure everyone hears these stories – many of which share a common theme focused on cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way products are made and moved around the world and the people who use them.

Conexus Indiana launched an educational series earlier this year to bring these stories to young adults around the state. Through our Movers, Makers & Mixers events we have stimulated lively discussions about advanced manufacturing and logistics in the 21st Century and dispelled myths about the industries.

Indiana’s leadership position in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries is evident in the numbers. One in five Hoosiers works in these industries and Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing job growth while offering competitive salaries upwards of $77,500 in the manufacturing sector and $65,000 in logistics.

Perceptions about careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics, however, aren’t as impressive.

Our research shows that most Hoosiers are unfamiliar with the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries and as a result have negative or outdated perceptions of careers in these industry sectors. Our research also shows that most people don’t know these industries offer meaningful, good-paying careers with benefits and opportunities to grow and make an impact.

Those familiar with the industries, however, are more likely to have positive perceptions of the industry. Educators have confirmed that once students are exposed to manufacturing and logistics and learn about the innovative and high-tech technologies used to make and move products, the more likely they are to be excited about pursuing a career in these industry sectors.

Movers, Makers & Mixers is one of many talent programs Conexus Indiana developed and delivers to change perceptions and engage more people in the industry.

Industry trailblazers and thought leaders have helped us share stories about the impact of technologies, such as 3D printing, Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, block chain, augmented and virtual reality and big data, on the industries’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability. We’ve reached hundreds of young adults this year and will continue our tour throughout 2020.

The Movers, Makers & Mixers events underscore the benefits of storytelling and verify effective ways to impact perceptions. Specifically, we’ve learned:

The data are accurate; the more people know about the industries, the greater interest they show in pursuing careers in those industries. Industry partners from Cummins, ClearObject, and Cook Regentec energized young adults and stretched their imaginations when talking about what it means to be a manufacturer, the migration of technology into these industries and how it is redefining manufacturing and logistics.

It’s never too early or too late to share stories about the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. Our Movers, Makers & Mixers events are geared toward young adults, but we also offer programs to students in high school and college, as well as working adults. Central to our programs are opportunities for students to interact with industry experts and visit manufacturing and logistics operations.  

We need to be relentless in telling our industries’ stories. We’ve got so many stories to tell and so many incredible people who want to help us spread the word.

Our work reaches across the state in high school classrooms, on college campuses, in manufacturing and logistics facilities, at large events and, in the case of Movers, Makers & Mixers, in local breweries and restaurants.

Movers, Makers & Mixers has made five stops around the state with three more events planned later this year in South Bend and Terre Haute in September and Evansville in November. You can register to attend our events by clicking here.

Our stories are only going to get more interesting as the industries evolve. It’s a great time to be a storyteller – and to be a mover or maker.

J. Mark Howell is the chief executive officer of Conexus Indiana.