On the Inside Indiana Business television segment, "The INsiders," Joe Smith of Faegre Baker Daniels joined a group of experts to discuss political and business trends in Indiana.
Smith said he was not surprised by survey results showing that Indiana business leaders are concerned about their ability to find skilled workers. "That's what's on the minds of everyone across the state," he said. "We've always tried to emphasize the importance of education, and not necessarily just your higher level educated, but your skilled workers, to make sure they are able to take on the new manufacturing jobs in the state. Indiana is a place where the state unemployment level is lower than the average, and I think it's on the upswing and I just hope we have the confidence to keep at it and keep moving forward.
"I give credit to the folks who have laid the tax structure for the state of Indiana, and really inducing folks to come and do business in the state of Indiana," Smith said of Indiana's success in attracting direct foreign investment. "There are wonderful programs which actually seek after foreign investment, and I think from the Chinese government to the Russian government, there are a lot of folks with opportunities and expendable income that want to invest in the U.S. economy and U.S. technology to try to grow their businesses, and it's a wonderful opportunity for them to come here and grow our economy.
"We've got to make sure we engage the younger folks in our community to stay involved and get educated so they have opportunity to receive these good jobs that are coming down the path," Smith said of the manufacturing jobs that result from foreign investment.
Of potential layoffs in Gary, Ind., public schools, Smith explained, "We have to be very careful with making sure we don't discourage teachers and the like from going to these difficult places to teach. With the Ball State charter, there's a huge influence of charter schools in the Gary region and there's a huge potential layoff for teachers because the money's just not there. You want to make sure that gem of the state becomes more robust and grows because Lake County is important to the whole state of Indiana."