Holcomb aims for more Japanese investment
Gov. Eric Holcomb found common ground with his Japanese counterparts this week during his latest trade mission — workforce challenges.
Driving the news: Holcomb spent the past week in Japan on an economic development trip, meeting with officials, visiting businesses with a presence in the state and attending the annual conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.
Why it matters: Indiana has more Japanese investment per capita than any other state, with more than 300 Japanese-owned businesses that employ more than 55,000 Hoosiers.
- As those businesses seek to expand, having enough skilled workers to fill jobs will be an important piece of the puzzle.
State of play: Both Indiana and Japan are struggling to find enough skilled workers to fill jobs.
- Japan is facing a challenge from its rapidly aging population.
- In Indiana, too few working-age adults have the kind of post-secondary education needed to fill high-skill positions, particularly the advanced manufacturing jobs that Holcomb is courting.
- Holcomb said "workforce, workforce, workforce" was the topic of discussion during a conference session with governors from four U.S. states and three Japanese prefectures.
Between the lines: Recruiting new economic development opportunities was one goal of the trip, but maintaining existing relationships was also critical.
- Holcomb said he met with leaders from Subaru, Honda and Toyota, which each have an Indiana presence, as well as other companies looking to expand.
What he's saying: The trip isn't about globetrotting, Holcomb told reporters during a call last night.
- "We are seeking new business," he said.
Yes, but: There's nothing to announce, yet.
- Yes, but, but: "I'm pretty confident there will be some good news to share later," he said.
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