Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 13, 2012

New economic segment good for the county

 In Thursday’s edition of this newspaper we announced how ABC Bus in Nappanee is growing, which we think is something that will help that community continue to recover from the economic beating it took at the hands of the recession.

The people of Nappanee have always been known to be earnest, hard-working and diligent. The recreational vehicle industry recognized these fine traits among the city’s people many decades ago and located manufacturing plants there to capitalize on that work ethic. Unfortunately, the recession slapped the RV industry very hard and through no fault of their own, RV company owners had to downsize and some RV companies simply disappeared.

Since the recession, Nappanee, like the rest of Elkhart County, has been pulling together to cope with the loss of jobs and the loss of opportunities. So, when we hear of a success story like ABC Bus, we are grateful and want to let the world know that Nappanee’s economy is inching forward.

What we really like about this development is that ABC Bus is in a slightly different segment of the economy than the RV industry. As we have seen during the recession and the slow growth since then, having a large segment of our local economy in just one area can have a devastating impact on jobs and families when trouble arrives. While ABC Bus does service RVs, the company does not build them or sell them. The company’s main focus is on repairing interstate buses, something that bus companies find much more economical than purchasing new buses for their fleets.

Now ABC Bus is growing and the company needs skilled mechanics who can service diesel engines. Fortunately, we have in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties, Ivy Tech campuses that can offer automotive technology training for workers considering that line of work. It will take some time to train mechanics, but we believe that Ivy Tech and the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp. and local school districts should come together and meet with ABC Bus leaders to discuss if the proper programs are in place to make sure there will be a continuing supply of trained workers to meet the company’s needs for years to come.

Now that we have some success going in Nappanee’s economy and there is a new segment of the local economy forming, we should do everything possible to make sure the community is providing the right resources to support ABC Bus.

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