Some CEOs of major regional employers in Indiana have joined with university presidents to create Conexus Indiana. Its goal is to focus on the state's advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. The two industries already account for nearly a third of the state's economic output and more than a quarter of its jobs.
"Manufacturing and logistics are evolving, becoming more high-tech, and we've put together an all-star team to maximize our potential in these industries," said Mark Miles, CICP's president & CEO. "Conexus Indiana will focus on building a world-class workforce, creating partnerships to explore promising markets, and aggressively marketing Indiana as a manufacturing and logistics leader."
Conexus Indiana will be chaired by Cummins Inc. President and COO Joe Loughrey. It will be led at the staff level by president & CEO Carol D'Amico Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College, and Lisa Laughner, former vice president of Corporate Ventures for Rolls-Royce North America.
Conexus Indiana will address three key priorities -- developing a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce; creating industry collaborations to explore new business opportunities; and aggressively marketing Indiana's manufacturing and logistics strengths to the business community, potential workers and the public at large.Planned activities include:
- Working with higher education and training providers, tailoring programs to create educational opportunities aligned with manufacturing and logistics; for example, exploring the need for a logistics bachelor's degree program and other curricula to match the needs expressed by industry leaders.
- Launching an educational career awareness program modeled on the "Dream It, Do It" campaign of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute to attract more young people to the industries; this effort includes career fairs, mentoring and internship programs as well as broader marketing efforts to reach potential workers.
- Researching new markets -- Conexus Indiana is currently partnering with the State of Indiana on an initiative to attract more federal contracts in defense and aerospace, and it is evaluating other potential growth areas and potential business start-up and spin-offs based on patent and R&D activity.
- Creating "connectivity" programs such as a statewide database linking large manufacturers to potential Indiana suppliers and supply chain networking events.
* Marketing Indiana's manufacturing and logistics strengths, to attract new economic opportunities and raise public awareness. These awareness-building efforts would also reach policymakers and the business community with research and analysis related to the industries in Indiana.
These efforts will be funded by a $6.5 million budget through 2009.