Economic development leaders discuss jobs and training center

Economic development stakeholders inspected the redevelopment efforts of the former “Bowen-Carter” building in downtown Rushville this week. When completed, the front of the building will house the local WorkOne office managed by Eastern Indiana Works. The rear of the building will be the home of a new manufacturer-driven regional training center under the direction of the Rush County ECDC. Ivy Tech has been working to partner with the ECDC to deliver training opportunities. When completed, the community is going to have a one-stop shop that allows unemployed and under-employed workers to go to a single location to improve their skill sets and to seek new employment. The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

According to economic development officials, there is a great need to train more people to fill the jobs pipeline with extremely low unemployment rates. According to the most recent figures released by the State of Indiana, Rush County ranks 72nd out of Indiana’s 92 counties in regards to low unemployment. Rush County leads their economic growth region for employment with an unemployment rate of 3.2%.

“All of our local manufacturers are hiring,” ECDC Director John McCane said. “It is our goal to create a one-stop shop where someone unemployed can not only sign up for a job, but they can also get the testing and training that will help them get a new or better job. This is a critical component in the ECDC’s workforce development plan.”

According to local officials, the new training center is owned by the ECDC, which is a public-private not-for-profit. Through this partnership, funding comes from the City of Rushville, Rush County, the Town of Glenwood and partner memberships. The building will be funded through lease revenues, investment from industry partners, grants and with ECDC funds on hand.

“We have had people ask if the Bowen-Carter name will continue to grace the downtown,” Mayor Pavey said. “As a community, we have highly invested in our local historic fabric. However, the new façade will be of such significance that the look will need to change. The original lettering is off-center and does not lend itself for symmetry or aesthetic sense.”

The Mayor did say that efforts are underway to find a way to recognize the history of the Bowen-Carter building. Pavey stated that the ECDC and the city intends to recognize the historical significance of the building perhaps through sidewalk bricks, or photo displays in the lobby, or both.

Eastern Indiana Works plans to move into the rehabilitated building immediately upon completion. Research into the topic indicates a Workforce Training Center with workforce development training programs that are manufacturer-driven is necessary to keep our community and region relevant in the workforce arena. Surveys and conversations with local and regional employers indicate buy-in at all levels.

The ECDC has partnered with the Rushville Street Department in the rehabilitation of the jobs training center. The street department staff has been working on demolition efforts and concrete work. Through this cooperation, those items completed locally come off the bottom line of the contract and provides projects to the department during slower times and off-season.

“I can’t say enough for the hard working staff of the Rushville Street Department,” ECDC Chairman David Reid said. “Through their expertise and talents, we have been able to save considerably on this project. There is no doubt that they have helped us move this project along faster and with fiscal responsibility.”

Local officials believe that the new workforce center will complement the State of Indiana’s direction as the State Legislature and the Governor’s Office join efforts to grow job skill sets throughout the state. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development estimates there will be more than one million jobs to fill in the state by 2024 – and most of them won’t require a college degree. Instead, many employers will be looking for highly-skilled workers with specialized certificates to fill positions in everything from manufacturing to healthcare.

“We have to have this ready, skilled-up workforce here at home, right in our backyard,” Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said, “in addition to attracting talent from all over the world.”

Rushville chosen for 2016 Stellar Community

Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb announces Rushville and Corydon as the 2016 Designees of the Stellar Communities Designation Program (SCDP).

Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Designation Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana’s smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships. In 2015, the designations were divided into two divisions based on population size. Division I are communities of a population of 6,000 or more and Division II are smaller cities and towns with populations of fewer than 6,000.

“I congratulate and commend those who worked tirelessly during the Stellar Communities selection process on behalf of Rushville,” State Rep. Tom Saunders said. “The efforts of Mayor Pavey and his team paid off in a big way and the positive impact this will have on the city and Rush County will be felt for years to come.”

In April, six finalist communities were announced for the 2016 program year:

Division I Finalists: Rushville, Shelbyville, and Warsaw

Division II Finalists: Corydon, Culver, and Union City

Between April and July, Lt. Governor Holcomb and representatives from the SCDP state team visited all six finalist communities where they heard highlights from each local team as well as toured project locations from their local Strategic Investment Plans (SIP).

“I was filled with such pride while visiting the six finalist communities this summer, seeing firsthand the passion and dedication each team is putting towards bettering their community through economic development opportunities,” said Lt. Governor Holcomb. “I look forward to celebrating the work of the state and local teams at the State Fair next week. With or without the stellar designation, all six communities are on their way to achieving transformative outcomes that will better their local and regional areas.”

Division I Designee: City of Rushville-

Rushville’s SIP includes several revitalization and rehabilitation projects downtown and in the historic district which will allow for commercial and office space development as well as housing development in preexisting neighborhoods and historic buildings. The proposal also includes outdoor improvements like creating a trailhead and bike hub and building the Riverside Park Gateway Plaza.

Division II Designee: Town of Corydon-

Corydon centers their SIP on renovating, improving, enhancing and rehabilitating existing aspects of their town. Among the proposed projects are renovating three historic buildings, enhancing the downtown area to improve connectivity and walkability by providing well-lit walkways and housing rehabilitation. Several projects are devoted to the outdoors from improving Keller Park to creating an Indian Creek Trail Connection meant to link green space at Keller Park while also preserving natural corridors.

Division I Finalists: City of Warsaw and City of Shelbyville

Warsaw’s SIP focuses on neighborhood beautification as well as establishing parks and a cycle track, made to resemble Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail. Other aspects of Warsaw’s proposal include building a roundabout for increased safety and a housing development which will offer diversified options to low-to-moderate income families, senior residents and persons with special needs.

Shelbyville’s SIP revolves around developing housing and improving the quality of the areas where residents live. The downtown housing project would strive to bring new citizens into the city while the Brownstone Townhomes project would help Shelbyville reach their established residential market demand for senior living and market rate housing.

Ten communities submitted letters of interest (LOIs) for the 2016 Stellar Communities Designation Program. Of those ten, six communities were chosen as finalists, received planning grants and were required to submit local Strategic Investment Plans. The SIPs detail the projects, partnerships and proposed sources of funding based on feedback and input from the local community. The next step was the site visits which were conducted by the state stellar team, comprised of staff representing the partnering agencies.

On Aug. 18, a Stellarbration hosted by Lt. Governor Holcomb will be held at the Indiana State Fair to celebrate the 2016 Designees. The event will also be a look back on the successes of the first 5 years of the designation program as well as presentations from Rushville and Corydon.

The Lt. Governor and state stellar team members will also travel to Rushville and Corydon later this fall to participate in local Stellarbrations with the local community members.

“I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our Stellar Team and the amazing support from our community,” Mayor Mike Pavey said. “We believe Stellar will be the most transformative period in our city’s history. Our team looks forward to working closely with state agencies and community members to build upon the success that we have experienced through this process.”

2016 is the second year of the expansion of state agency partners. Prior to 2015 the SCDP partnership included:

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)

State agency partners now include:

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Indiana Finance Authority (IFA)

Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (OSBE)/Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD)

Indiana State Department of Health – Division of Nutrition & Physical Activity (ISDH)

Serve Indiana

New to the Stellar team in 2016 are the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Bond Bank.

Funding for the SCDP comes from multiple existing federal programs. Both communities have proposed projects involving public and private dollars; although they have been designated as a Stellar Community, the projects are proposals and no specific funds are guaranteed. Both communities will meet with representatives from the state stellar team in the coming weeks to discuss details of the proposed projects including feasibility, available funding, timeframes and partner participation.

The finalist communities will receive follow up from the state stellar team to discuss details about their submitted SIPs and provide feedback on the SCDP process.

Eligible applicants must be a Local Unit of Government which includes a city or an incorporated town not entitled to direct Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More information about the Stellar Communities Designation Program is available at


Annual Pioneer Steam Show approaches

annual pioneer show

The four-day running of the Pioneer Engineers Club is held annually the first weekend in August and this year will mark the 68th running of the event.

Advance-Rumely steam engines and Allis Chalmers Tractors will be featured this year.

Daily activities include parade, a working line-shaft machine shop, plowing demonstrations, sawmilling, threshing, a blacksmith shop, a calliope, field events and entertainment.

According to organizers, it is anticipated the show will include roughly 25 large steam engines, 300 tractors of various makes and sizes, a variety of gas engines and flea market as well as plenty of good food. Two church services will be held – 4 p.m. Aug. 6 and 9 a.m. Aug. 7.

The reunion show is held at Caldwell Acres which is easily accessible from Rushville by taking SR 3 south to CR 325S then east to CR 200W and south a short distance.

Cost is $10 for a four-day pass (the duration of the event) or $5 for a daily pass.

The event has steadily grown in popularity. The show was held locally beginning in 1948 through 1953 during the annual running of the Rush County Fair prior to moving to Porter’s sawmill on the Rush County farm of Lawrence Porter until 1956. Due to its growing popularity, the event for a move to larger grounds at the Rushville Conservation Club east of Rushville on SR 44, where it remained until 2007. Beginning in 2008, it again relocated to its current Caldwell Acres location.

The public is invited to attend the working museum. Campsites are available for the duration of the show, for camping information, contact B.J. Bischoff at (513) 266–2128 and online at miniadvance38yahoo.comor for reunion information, contact Mark or Dawn Dieckmann at (812) 852 – 2660 or Tracy Porter at (765) 969 – 3937.

Contact: or (765) 932 – 2222 x106

What: Pioneer Engineers Club Reunion Show

Where: Caldwell Acres

When: Aug. 4, 5, 6 and 7

Cost: $10 weekend pass or $5 daily pass


ECDC Helping Small Businesses Grow in Rush County

The Rush County ECDC and Chamber of Commerce regularly sponsor educational programs to help our small businesses prosper. The upcoming workshop will focus on important role of marketing in growing a business. The event will take place June 21 from 8-9am at River Point Office Suites. Participants need to register by calling (765) 282-9950 or by signing up on under the “Workshops & Events” link.


Power of Profitable marketing-Rushville - June 2016

ECDC and Chamber of Commerce Sponsoring High School Job Fair

“We wanted to be sure the students who were graduating knew about all the services available to them to help with finding and keeping a job”, said Sandy Fussner, Executive Director of the Chamber. “WorkOne has an amazing array of things to offer, from their job matching program to free training to help with paying educational costs. Some you do have to qualify for; others are accessible to anyone”.

Getting information out was one reason the ECDC and Chamber decided to hold this event. Another was the need businesses have to fill open jobs.  During the BOSS (Better Opportunities for Successful Students) presentations, they learned there were many local opportunities.  What better way to match the students to those opportunities than to have a job fair at the high school, scheduled for the end of the school day? It will be held Wednesday, May 11th, in the high school cafeteria, from 2:45 to 5:00 p.m.

Companies who will be there include: First Call for Emerson Copeland, Flat Rock Lodge, INTAT, Manufacturing Matters, Millers Merry Manor, Rush Shelby Energy, Trane, Wells Fargo, and WorkOne.

“Parents of these juniors and seniors need to know this is going on, so they can encourage their young person to attend.  Even if they are not currently looking for a job, students will learn a lot about the local businesses and the opportunities they present”, said Carolyn Bunzendahl, Client Services Manager of the ECDC. “Just knowing about the training programs for which they may be eligible is valuable information. Representatives from the Manufacturing Matters training program will be talking about the Manufacturing Matters Academy. This five week instructor led, condensed training program teaches safety, quality and measurement, manufacturing processes and maintenance awareness in preparation to become a Certified Production Technician (CPT).  For those who qualify, it’s paid for – a value of $3,150!  And there’s an immediate pay-off for completing – $400 – and an additional $100 once you take a manufacturing job in the area”.

For more information, you can call the ECDC at 938-3232

RUSHVILLE selected as Finalist in Stellar Communities Program

Six cities and towns have been named finalists for this year’s Stellar Communities program. The statewide initiative involves funding and resources for projects designed to improve quality of life in smaller Hoosier communities.

The state says Stellar Communities helps with “transformative” efforts to plan, leverage existing assets, foster regional investments and stimulate long-term growth. It is a collaboration financially supported by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Department of Transportation through state and federal sources. The state says a total of 11 agencies will provide technical skills and expertise for the program.

Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb is set to visit each finalist in the coming months and says “cities and towns across Indiana continue to benefit from a strong business climate that makes them attractive places to live, work, and play, and the Stellar Communities Designation Program remains an important catalyst fostering local economic growth.”

The finalists are broken down based on size. Division 1 communities have populations between 6,000 and 50,000 and Division 2 finalists have 5,999 or fewer residents. The 2016 finalists are:

Division 1

  • City of Rushville
  • City of Shelbyville
  • City of Warsaw

Division 2

  • Town of Corydon
  • Town of Culver
  • City of Union City

Ten communities applied for the program. Finalists will receive a planning grant to launch or bolster strategic plans, projects and potential funding partnerships. One winner from each division will be announced in the summer.

Past winners are:

2011 – North Vernon and Greencastle

2012 – Princeton and Delphi

2013 – Richmond and Bedford

2014 – Huntingburg and Wabash

2015 – Crawfordsville and North Liberty

Rush County ECDC awarded grant from The Foreign Trade Zone program

The Rush County Economic and Community Development Corporation (ECDC) was recently the recipient of an $8,300 grant from the Greater Indianapolis Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. The ECDC will use these grant funds to promote the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) program. They will market the benefits of the FTZ program to existing businesses in Rush County and also to those companies that the ECDC is targeting for attracting to Rush County.

The FTZ program is a federal trade incentive program that helps companies that import by reducing costs and improving logistical efficiencies. The Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) became the local administrator of the FTZ program for central Indiana in 1981 with approval from the Foreign Trade Zone Board (U.S. Department of Commerce).

The IAA formed a separate company (Greater Indianapolis Foreign Trade Zone, Inc., also known as INzone) to administrate this program on its behalf within its 41 county service area. INzone is responsible for locally marketing the benefits of the FTZ program, assisting businesses with gaining access to the federal program, and providing support services.

The FTZ program assists companies that import into the United States with improving their competitive position versus utilizing offshore manufacturing and distribution processes. Operating within an FTZ service area can increase business efficiencies – saving time, money, and hassles. The FTZ program provides a diverse group of financial savings and logistical opportunities that help streamline business operations.

The ECDC will include FTZ information / logo on signage at the front entrance of the new Commerce Park at Rushville, and on any billboards advertising the Park. More information about this program can be found at, or by calling the ECDC at 765-938-3232.

JOB OPENING for Client Services Manager at Rush County ECDC

The Rush County Economic and Community Development Corporation (ECDC), a primary economic development partner in Rushville and Rush County, seeks a qualified individual to join the economic development team in order to foster public/private partnerships that result in private sector investment and job creation.

The Client Services Manager is a full-time exempt position that reports to the President/CEO.

This professional position is responsible for all administrative functions with a special emphasis on project management and workforce development activities.  Other activities include, but are not limited to, economic development lead response, phone/email inquiries, accounts payable/receivable processing, coordination/planning of events and meetings, and database/website systems management.  This position will be Rushville, Indiana; please indicate willingness to relocate to Rush County in cover letter.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities:


  • Provide administrative support for Rush County ECDC staff, including receipt/distribution of mail, preparation of written correspondence, maintenance of file systems, and activities related to monthly Board meetings.
  • Responsible for reporting and ongoing accounts payable/receivable processing, as well as preparation of monthly statements and reports.
  • Oversee maintenance and development of statistical and/or informational databases. Perform ongoing updates and maintenance of available sites and buildings inventory. Must possess an ability to perform effective online research. Proficiency in Excel required.
  • Perform ongoing updates and maintenance of ECDC website through a content management system. Proficiency with website content management systems preferred.
  • Design marketing and promotional materials for both domestic and international markets using various media. Experience with Desktop Publishing and social networking tools preferred.
  • Coordinate and execute communications with targeted industry leaders.
  • Design and coordinate press releases and other outreach material.

Project Management:

  • Preparation of initial response for economic development project leads.
  • Responsible for coordinating workforce development programs and activities as they pertain to the organization and partners.
  • Will assist with coordination of prospect site visits, as well as preparation of customized information packets.
  • Responsible for planning and executing special events, such as (but not limited to) Board of Directors Annual Meeting, stakeholder receptions, workshops, and other programs.
  • Community or economic-based grant application coordination, with grant research, writing and administration as a desired skill set.

Education, Experience and Skills Required:

The ideal candidate will project a professional demeanor at all times. He/she will possess:

  • Excellent oral and written communications skills.
  • A working knowledge of the Indiana Workforce Development structure preferred
  • A working knowledge of economic development or nonprofit organizations, including the principles of economic and community development, volunteer management, program administration, project management, and grant application writing preferred.
  • A working knowledge of local and state political structure preferred.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and judgment as a normal and recurring part of performing day-to-day duties, including the ability to maintain confidential information and/or discussions.
  • Strong public relations skills, with the ability to establish and maintain strong working relationships among diverse groups of people.
  • Expertise in Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Publisher.
  • Knowledge of social networking tools preferred.
  • Knowledge of website content management systems preferred.
  • A valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and proof of insurance.
  • Ability to perform basic research and analyze data using acceptable research practices, and to formulate alternatives and recommendations
  • WorkKeys Assessment Preferred
  • A minimum of Associate’s Degree (Bachelor’s degree is preferred) in Business Administration, Marketing, Economic Development, or related field, or the equivalent combination of education and 3-5 years’ experience.

Compensation Package:

Salary and benefits are commensurate with skills and experience.

Resumes and applications are being collected through March 14th. Interested applicants should contact with their resume and cover letter.

Commerce Park at Rushville featured in BUILDING INDIANA magazine

An article about the official opening of the Commerce Park at Rushville was recently featured in the Jan/Feb issue of BUILDING INDIANA magazine.  Pictured were Sandy Fussner, Director, Chamber of Commerce; John McCane, ECDC Executive Director, State Representative Tom Saunders, Mayor Mike Pavey, City Clerk Treasurer Ann Copley, Morgan Reardon, Project Inspector for Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc., and Cathy Wenning, Chair of the ECDC Board.  More about the article at


City of Rushville to host Brownfields Informational Meeting on January 29th

The City of Rushville was recently awarded a $364,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The grant supports EPA’s goals and objectives to promote sustainable and livable communities.  The City’s goals for its Brownfields Program are to create jobs, eliminate public health impacts, and remove blighted/unsafe conditions and environmental threats to area residents.

By definition from the EPA, a brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There will be extensive community outreach to inform Rushville citizens of the plans for this assessment process and to solicit public input.

The first of these public meetings will be held Friday, January 29, 2016, 3:00 the City Council Chambers, 270 W. 15th Street, Rushville. The City has contracted with the engineering firm, SME, to provide environment services for the coordination, direction, conduct and/or oversight of the Brownfield Assessment activities approved by the grant. Representatives from SME will be presenting information at this meeting, and will be on hand for a question and answer session. Local oversight will be provided by the Rush County Economic & Community Development Corporation.

Who should attend these meetings? Community partners, health department, City and County elected officials, Chamber of Commerce, local financing institutions, real estate developers, area plan commission and any other interested citizens.

Further questions about the meeting or other grant activities can be directed to the ECDC at 765-938-3232.