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Indiana Manufacturers: Attracting the Millennial Manufacturing Workforce

May 6, 2015

Manufacturing Services Group

Indianapolis is looking to lure manufacturers back downtown. Why? The answer is simple: Manufacturers will find more of the technically skilled workers they are looking for in the city than in rural areas.

While there is much dialogue on what the ultimate location preferences of the dubbed “millennials” will be, when Nielsen noted last year that U.S. cities are growing faster than the suburbs for the first time in nearly a century, people paid attention. There appears to be an increasing preference among this generation to live in urban settings, despite the fact that, in many cases, it comes at a higher cost. And the high-tech workers that manufacturers desperately need are among these young workers.

To this end, the Indianapolis Mayor’s office, Indy Chamber and a local redevelopment organization is forming a yet-to-be-named non-profit this year focused on the rehabilitation of dilapidated urban properties for use by manufacturers.

Drew Klacik, senior policy analyst at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, says this just makes sense: “Contrary to stereotypes, many of the skilled workers needed by advanced manufacturers want bike trails, concerts, walkable neighborhoods – the same amenities sought by their white-collar counterparts.”

As millennials continue to flock to urban environments, Indiana manufacturers will need to evaluate how they will compete for this tech-savvy talent. If not, other markets will.


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