The state has had a strong start in economic development, a success which offices say has been mirrored in both Huntington County and the Northeast Indiana region.

According to a press release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), the IEDC has worked with 173 companies that have either expanded or established a new business in Indiana with around $3.23 billion in investments and about 17,000 new jobs.

This much success halfway through the year has set a new record, according to the release.

“We are living in an increasingly competitive global economy,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said in the release. “While meeting with business leaders around the world, they tell me that they need a place where they can maximize their return on investment, with a workforce that is skilled and taxes that don’t discourage success. With the record-setting number of deals we have already secured so far this year in all corners of the state, it is clear that businesses are finding what they need and more in Indiana, creating jobs and placing our Hoosier economy on a notable uptick.” 

Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, said this success has been seen throughout the entire Northeast Indiana region.

“(The area is) reflective of a larger percentage of those projects than would be relevant to number of counties and population density,” Wickersham said.

He added the area has around 23 percent of projects when the number of counties and population should account for around 8 percent.

Locally, Wickersham said Huntington County is working towards a record-breaking year as well.

“We’ve been able to announce nine projects with one more to be announced fairly soon, so there’re 10 projects we’ve worked so far this year,” he said. “Our largest on record, in terms of number of projects, was 2011 when we had 13.”

This year’s economic development projects represent around $27 million in investments, the creation of 218 jobs and the retention of around 1,700 jobs, Wickersham said.

Overall, since 2008 Wickersham said there have been 68 industrial projects, totaling more than $216 million in investments around 1,800 jobs.

Huntington Aluminum’s recent expansion announcement, Wickersham added, is a good example of the collaborative effort of the city and the county.

The city and county have appropriated a combined $250,000 for an expansion to Huntington Aluminum, which will be a $3.2 million investment creating 41 new jobs and retaining 43.

“We’re outperforming counties our size, which is primarily attributable to the team concept and approach we have to working with companies in our community and to attract them to do business here,” Wickersham said.

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