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Manufacturing Heritage

Hartford City’s Sneath Glass factory in 1895

Hartford City’s Sneath Glass factory in 1895

Blackford County and the surrounding region is built on a history of manufacturing and industrial activity.  For decades, our companies and the area’s talented workforce have been creating, building, solving, innovating, and improving products and processes that feed the global economy.  Our heritage includes significant roles in transformative industries such as glass and automotive which developed a base of talent who can master mechanical, operational, and process challenges. In addition to continued density of advanced manufacturing companies, today our regional economy also includes sectors such as food processing, recycling, agribusiness, and logistics.



Based on the most recent annual data, the Blackford County labor shed contains 223,408 workers with an average unemployment rate of 5.0%  (LAUS 2015 Annual Averages, 9-county area consisting of Adams, Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Madison, Randolph, and Wells).  Click here for commuting information.


70+ Blackford High School students participate in Mfg Day each year to explore local manufacturing careers

70+ Blackford High School students participate in Mfg Day each year to explore local manufacturing careers


In Blackford County, we work closely with partners like Blackford High School, Ivy Tech Community College, and WorkOne to align our training and resources based on direct input from our employers. Whether your needs require a standard curriculum or customized training, our goal is to create a pipeline to provide the skilled employees you demand today and as you grow in the future.

  • Blackford High School is placing a growing emphasis on career & technical education, in addition to providing outstanding instruction in traditional and college-bound courses.  We strive to generate interest in local careers provided by our local companies and to align curriculum with those specific career paths. In 2015, nearly $20,000 was invested to upgrade the facility and equipment for our industrial training programs.  In this space, students are learning manufacturing processes, engineering, computer design, construction, transportation, and industrial repair & maintenance.
  • Ivy Tech Community College is a fabulous resource for on-campus learning as well as customized training delivered to employers. It is the the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system with more than 30 campuses across Indiana.
  • WorkOne is the federally funded workforce development program in Indiana. The organization provides no-cost services to job seekers and employers.  Employer services include applicant recruiting & screening, training, testing, labor market information, and assistance with workforce related grants and tax credits. For eligible new employees, WorkOne can reimburse the company up to 50% of employee wages for up to six months during training. The training is done by the company in the company’s facility. This is not a tax credit; the company receives a check for the eligible reimbursements to help offset training costs.

Educational institutions in and around Blackford County provide world-class programs at all levels from pre-school to college, including graduate levels of study. Click here for more information about education in our area.



The median annual wage across all occupations in our area is approximately 15% lower than the U.S. median ($30,701 vs. $36,192).¹ The average compensation (wages and benefits) per manufacturing job in Blackford County is 33% less than the U.S. average ($42,855 vs. $63,729).² For detailed information on wages in the Blackford County area, please email Colton Bickel, Executive Director of Blackford County Economic Development or call 765-348-4944.

Also, Indiana has second lowest workers compensation rate in the country at $1.05 per $100 of payroll.³

For more details about our low cost business environment, click here.


¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Muncie, IN MSA – 2015

² Bureau of Economic Analysis, Compensation of Employees by Industry – 2014

³ Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary – 2016