ANDERSON — With a presentation labeled “Anderson Strong,” the city’s economic development director presented ambitious goals for the next decade.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said Thursday during the Wake-Up Breakfast hosted by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce that the goal is to create 8,000 new jobs.
“We want to start 100 projects and attract 60 new companies over the next decade,” Winkler said. “We’re projecting those new companies will provide 5,000 jobs.”
The goal for Anderson is to attract $2.1 billion in capital investment from existing businesses and new companies locating in the city.
“With the Mounds Lake project, these numbers are a shadow of what can happen,” he said of the concept to create a 7-mile-long reservoir from Anderson into Delaware County.
Winkler said to achieve the goal of 8,000 new jobs in 10 years the city has to work to retrain and educate the existing and future workforce.
“We’re limited by our existing workforce in attracting new investment,” he said.
His comments came a day after the city announced plans to create a high-tech manufacturing center in cooperation with Purdue University and the Flagship Enterprise Center.
Ron Sparks, the executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development, said right now there are jobs in the community that pay between $15 and $20 per hour that can’t be filled.
“We need to expand the workforce,” he said.
Winkler said the community has to continue to aggressively market and push its sales effort globally. He said between 2009 and 2011 the city had direct contact with 90 prospective developers and that number has increased to 219 during the administration of Mayor Kevin Smith since 2012.
“We want to break down the political, economic and racial walls that divide the community,” he said.
“We have increased contacts with potential new businesses,” Winkler said. “It drives better opportunities and a better chance of closing deals.”
Winkler said the community also has to accept some measure of risk, citing the proposed Mounds Lake project and Purdue Polytechnic Institute projects for Anderson.
Economic development is a team effort including the Corporation for Economic Development, the Flagship Enterprise Center and the city, he said.
Winkler opened by stating that everyone is familiar with what Anderson used to be in the 1950s and 1960s, when there were up to 25,000 manufacturing jobs and investments of $12 billion.
“There was a period when Anderson was not so strong,” he said. “It was tough times for the community.”
The city lost 25,000 jobs from the early 1980s to early 2000s, lost $15 billion in investment and the population declined.
“Since 2006, the city has gained 4,651 actual jobs through the attraction of 30 new companies,” Winkler said.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.
• Anderson hopes to create 8,000 jobs during the next decade, according to Greg Winkler.
• City's effort is to retrain and educate the existing and future workforce through high-tech manufacturing.
• New investment goal is $2.1 billion and 60 new companies.