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Indiana gets investments in electric vehicle production

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana is the home of two significant investments in electric vehicle production that will help continue to modernize the workforce.

Entek will invest $1.5 billion to create a lithium battery separator facility in Terre Haute.

Stellantis will invest $155 million across three Indiana plants to support electric vehicle production.

The investment from Stellantis will retain 265 jobs, and the Entek investment will create up to 642 jobs.

Nathan Hartman is a Purdue University professor specializing in manufacturing and workforce development. He said it is important to continue looking to the future to keep jobs in Indiana.

Hartman, Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing and head of computer graphics technology at Purdue Polytechnic Institute, said, “What is coming is more degrees of automation, more degrees of worker assistance when it comes to machine learning or when it comes to AI.”

Hartman said having a properly educated workforce to tackle advanced manufacturing jobs will be key to ensuring opportunities are here. “Emphasizing data literacy in K-12 academic environments; training and, in some cases, retraining workers, existing workers, in data literacy and computing, in automation technologies.”

Hartman said four-year college degrees aren’t required; other educational opportunities can go far.

“I don’t think that every person needs to go through the exact same kind of education or the exact same kind of or numbers of levels of education,” Hartman said. “STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related skills, communication skills, writing and critical thinking skills, because ultimately they’re going to need a problem-solving mindset.”

The future of production will include the products people need in the future. That will likely include more battery-powered cars among other things.

The professor said, “Indiana is poised (for success). It’s a business-friendly environment. It has good public schools from elementary all the way up from university who are adept at solving problems. Thirdly, just geographically, it’s just positioned in a way for the production and distribution mechanisms that are needed.”

Hartman said room exists for Indiana to be a part of the aspects of technology for electric vehicles, including design and production, battery manufacturing, charging production, electrical infrastructure and maintenance.