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Jobs to spark Elkhart County economy

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Thousands of new jobs could spark Elkhart County's economy.  That's the word from a company brining new jobs to Michiana.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will make a stop in Wakarusa Thursday morning for the big announcement.  California based Electric Motors Corporation will start production of their eco-friendly vehicles in Nappanee and Wakarusa this year.  At this point, we're not sure exactly how many jobs the new company will bring to the area.  But with so many companies closing their doors and laying off thousands of workers, hearing some positive news has really energized people in Elkhart County.

"Hours cut, jobs laid off, and how hard it is to find a summer job," said Erika Miller who's worried about her economic future.

Miller is a college student and her perception of Elkhart County is that it is a place with no jobs.

"The first time I probably been unemployed since I was a teenager," said laid off worker Joe Schafer.

Schafer is also losing hope.  But Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' Thursday morning announcement about job growth could change Erika and Joe's future.  California based Electric Motors Corporation will start production in Wakarusa and Nappanee this year.

"It's slightly new industries. Industries that will take the RV industry to a kind of greener, new fuel efficient arena," said Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder.

Yoder says that new technology will increase the company's longevity.  And with thousands of laid off workers looking for an opportunity to show their skills, Yoder says Electric Motors is a perfect match.

"Their production working skills will be a little bit different than RV workers, but not that much different. We'll easily be able to train the workers," said Yoder.

Yoder, the Governor's Office, and Electric Motors representatives have their lips sealed on the number of jobs the California company will bring.  But Yoder says a significant number of laid off workers should be back to work by the end of the year.  Even with limited information, Miller and Yoder are excited about the prospect of new jobs.

"It's good to get a small number just to build up and hopefully it'll keep coming," said Miller.

"We're cautiously optimistic.  With any new business there's always some potential pitfalls, but we're really optimistic," said Yoder.

But Schafer isn't jumping on the bandwagon.

"There's still more to be done," said Schafer.

Again, Governor Daniels will introduce the California based company and announce the number of jobs it will bring Thursday morning at DeMartini RV in Wakarusa.  Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder says to expect another major announcement about two other new compaines coming the to the area in the next 60 days.

Reporter: Nadia Crow

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