big-city resources of Indianapolis are just a short drive away. While Hendricks County does offer an excellent combination of all these factors, the recent upswing in growth has been fueled by a particularly effective and aggressive collaborative effort by leaders in business, government, education and additional sectors. Through this well-connected effort, the county can respond immediately with practical solutions for the needs of both existing businesses and new corporate citizens. Local officials recognize the value of business investment and concentrate on removing roadblocks instead of creating new ones. So it comes as no surprise that when companies are ready to take advantage of everything Indiana’s business-friendly climate offers, they discover that the friendliest, most productive choice they can make is Hendricks County.
SOUTHEAST INDIANA: WHERE FLEXIBLE MEETS AFFORDABLE
Southeast Indiana is a region that has proven itself as a preferred business location. Its unique position, overlapping the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Indianapolis, and Louisville regions, has long made it one of the best kept location secrets in the U.S. Today, with historic investments in technology, infrastructure and workforce training capacity, the secret is out. In addition to offering a lower cost of business and a lesscrowded quality of life, the region offers better access to skilled employees, technology and business amenities than most of its urban counterparts. Providing a skilled workforce to current and future employers has become a priority of the entire region. The region has seen investments of more than $95 million to improve its education and workforce training capacity in the last five years, including upgrades to community college campuses, the development of worker training facilities, and targeted programs for adults and high school students. The region is quickly becoming a national model for workforce collaboration. In the Southeast corner of the region, Switzerland County has developed an award-winning workforce identification and training program. Begun in 2008 by the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation, the initiative intends to raise the education and skill levels of residents to meet the needs of 21st century employers. This seven-year effort included the development of an Advanced Manufacturing curriculum and lab in the Switzerland County School System, featuring robotics, CNC, hydraulic and electrical training equipment, and project-based learning instruction for students. In 2012, the community dedicated The Switzerland County Technology and Education Center, a 24,000-square-foot facility featuring adult training classrooms and labs. Partnerships with regional technical training organizations, colleges and adult education providers offer customized instruction to the area’s workforce and provide the targeted skills training needed by regional employers. Switzerland County recently has completed construction on the Markland Business Park. Funded by county government and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the center of this project is a 120-acre certified Shovel Ready business park, surrounded by an additional 300 acres of utilityserved available property. Located at the southern end of the region, the Markland Business Park is a short drive from the Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington metro areas. This ability to draw workers from multiple regions, and still have a reasonable commuting distance, allows an employer to have more selection in drawing a skilled workforce. In fact, the commuting area surrounding the Markland Business Park draws from a regional population of more than 615,000 people. The park’s location also allows potential employees to have more options in what type of community they want to call home. Industries have already begun to take notice, with two businesses deciding to locate in the new facility before the property had even begun its first phase of construction. Southeast Indiana has been able to gather unmatched resources to make location and expansion projects a reality. A regional economic development grant program funded by the City of Lawrenceburg has invested over $70 Million into infrastructure projects and location incentives across the region. The results have spoken for themselves, with over $1.3 Billion in private investment committed to Indiana from participating industries. New infrastructure improvements in and around the region have not only opened up Southeast Indiana for better shipping and transportation, they have created some unique logistics advantages. Construction of a new highway in Northern Kentucky gave Switzerland County its first interstate access. Today, companies at the Markland Business Park can have trucks on the interstate in seven minutes, faster than most new business facilities. The region also offers amenities that used to only be available in a much more urban setting. In Switzerland County, the Markland Business Park is located within view of Belterra Casino Resort and Spa. In addition to providing more than 600 hotel rooms, the property offers a premiere championship golf course and a conference facility that rivals metropolitan areas. Under construction in Lawrenceburg, Indiana is a $50 Million event center that is expected to compete directly with larger metro areas for convention business. These entertainment and meeting hosting capabilities along with convenient international airport access (less than 35 minutes for most of the region) have made Southeast Indiana competitive for a wider range of business location projects. Switzerland County offers some of the lowest property tax rates in Indiana, aggressive incentive packages for targeted industries and incentives that include property tax abatements and infrastructure assistance. Both Switzerland County and Indiana also provide a variety of tools to meet specific workforce training needs including, skill assessments, job matching, training grants and assistance, and customized training programs developed by the community college network. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. More information on the Markland Business Park can be found at www.marklandbusinesspark.com; more information on Switzerland County can be found at www.switzerlandusa.com; and more information on Southeast Indiana can be found at www.South eastIndiana.org.