Telecommuting Now a Growing Part of the American Workplace

10061396As companies seek to become more worker-friendly, flexibility becomes more critical in retaining quality employees. The Learning House, on behalf of Grace College’s Department of Online Education, recently published an article on telecommuting and managing off-site employees.

The article includes statistics from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and includes comments from some leading business executives.

According to the SHRM, more companies began offering telecommuting in 2014 than any other benefit. The group also found that from 2005 to 2012, telework grew 79.2 percent. The largest growth year over year came from 2007 to 2008 with 14.1 percent, but the recession began to slow the growth of the practice. However, even as the total workforce declined, telecommuting grew and appears to bouncing back to new heights with the most recent figures.

Teleworkers by Sector
– Federal employees = 3.3%
– Private sector nonprofit employers = 2.9%
– Private sector for-profit employers = 2.6%
– State government workers = 2.4%
– Local government workers = 1.2%

Read the full article online.

Folk Fest in Indy to Draw Many Bands, Raise Funds for a Great Cause on May 9

folkfestSome socially conscious business owners and volunteers in Indy’s Fountain Square area are working hard to promote the inaugural Virginia Avenue Folk Fest, which will raise funds for Trusted Mentors. Set for May 9, the festival will feature over 70 local bands and is already creating quite the buzz.

I’m proud to say that I was involved with Trusted Mentors as an adult mentor for three years, and now serve on its board of directors.

The program creates mentor/mentee matches to help at-risk adults establish stable lives by reducing the chaos brought about by poverty, homelessness, under-employment and the effects of incarceration. These person-to-person mentoring relationships improve lives by developing life skills and positive social networks that empower people to:

  • Remain housed
  • Make a positive contribution to the local community
  • Remain or become employed
  • Advance their education
  • Stay out of jail
  • Improve parenting skills

For more details about the event, check out this helpful FAQ. And we could still use more volunteers as well!

Hope to see you there, and please help us spread the word if you plan to attend by using the hashtag #folkinupindy. Folk yeah!

Indiana’s Economic Outlook Places High on “Rich States, Poor States” Ranking

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) just released its 2015 “Rich States, Poor States Rankings,” which positions Indiana as having the third best economic outlook in the nation.

You can view the full report online. The economic outlook criteria is explained: 

The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process. Generally speaking, states that spend less—especially on income transfer programs, and states that tax less—particularly on productive activities such as working or investing—experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more.

 

alec

Rev(ving) Up the Month of May

????????????????????????May is always a special time in Central Indiana (and for many throughout the state) with the Indianapolis 500 and its surrounding activities.

One of the more recent additions to the itinerary is Rev,a high-energy charity event on May 2. What makes Rev (in its second year and presented by Fifth Third Bank) unique? It benefits a relationship between the racing community and IU Health Methodist Hospital that goes back more than 100 years.

From the hospital’s first motorized ambulance in 1910, to the first liftoff of its LifeLine helicopter in 1970, to today, IU Health Methodist Hospital and the IMS have worked together to promote the safety of racecar drivers and Hoosiers alike. Rev is a celebration of the continued partnership between these influential Indianapolis institutions.

Dine on driver-inspired cuisine prepared by Indy’s top chefs and enjoy a variety of music and entertainment while mingling with IndyCar drivers and racing legends. Experience a behind the scenes look at the yard of bricks, the acclaimed Borg-Warner trophy and Victory Podium and enjoy photo opportunities with Indianapolis’s finest vintage cars.

Funds raised will support Indiana University Health statewide trauma programs including medical services for drivers and patrons at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A limited number of premiere tickets remain available.

Toyota Celebrates 500,000 Forklifts Built in America

Toyota’s forklift manufacturing company, Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, has been headquartered in Columbus since 1990. After Toyota’s forklift sales and distribution company relocated to Indiana (from Irvine, California) last summer, all of the company’s North American forklift operations are under one roof — and have now produced over 500,000 forklifts.

Congrats to Toyota on this milestone!

Brotherhood Mutual Lives Up to Name by Helping Staffers’ Children

????????????????????????????????????????????For the upcoming May/June edition of BizVoice, I’ve written several stories about companies making the Best Places to Work in Indiana list.

In speaking with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company in Fort Wayne — a company that has made the list many times, I learned an important tidbit about how the organization helps the families of its staffers. By employing every college age kid whose parent works for the company for a period of time (40 hours per week for six to 12 weeks, starting at a salary of $10 per hour), Brotherhood Mutual helps these students gain quite an advantage.

“They may start doing data entry or working on the grounds, but as they continue through their college careers and pick their majors, we try to place them (in a related job),” explains Mark Robison, chairman and president. “So if they’re a graphic artist, they’ll be in our communications department — and accounting majors will be in our finance department. Or for upper classmen, if we don’t have a good fit for them, we’ll work with them and place them (and sponsor their work at an outside organization).”

He adds that his son was able to gain two internships in social work through the program, including one in Los Angeles.

“This year, we had 48 students apply – and we have 360 employees, so that many students coming in for the summer really changes the dynamic of the workplace,” Robison relays. “There’s more energy and it’s more exciting. The cool part is parents are taking care of each other’s kids, so the camaraderie is incredible.”

The company also supports employees’ adoption efforts, among many other family-focused benefits offered. This type of attitude is likely one of the reasons Brotherhood Mutual will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017 — a remarkable milestone indeed.

Look for the article featuring Brotherhood Mutual and many others in the upcoming May/June edition of BizVoice.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana Completes One Millionth Vehicle

Honda Celebrates 1 Millionth Group PhotoIn Greensburg on Wednesday, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) and its associates celebrated the one millionth car built at the plant.

This is quite an achievement for one of the auto industry’s premier companies — though definitely not its first major milestone in America. A release from Honda has more:

The completion of HMIN’s 1 millionth vehicle comes only six years after the start of mass production at the $800 million facility on October 9, 2008.

In addition to making the Civic, HMIN started manufacturing Acura ILX vehicles in 2012 before transferring the production to the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio earlier this year. In total, 65,172 Acura ILX cars were built at HMIN during a three year period — helping us reach this production milestone.

“We have come a long way from where Honda Manufacturing of Indiana started in 2008 to where we are today,” said Bob Nelson, HMIN president. “Our associates have shown tremendous commitment and dedication to get us to this major milestone and we will continue to work to provide our customers with products of the highest quality. These values and beliefs are at the heart of what makes Honda great.”

Last week, at the New York International Auto Show, Honda announced the North American version of the 2016 Civic Sedan will be produced at the Indiana plant. Honda is preparing to launch its completely reimagined 10th-Generation Civic models beginning this fall.

HMIN became Honda’s fourth auto plant in the U.S. and its seventh in North America when it began production of Civic sedans in October 2008. With employment over 2,000 and capital investment exceeding $800 million, HMIN primarily manufactures automobiles for the United States, with some Civics produced for export to markets outside of North America. HMIN maintains one of the lowest environmental footprints of any automobile plant in Honda’s global production network.

Organizations Earn IOED Grants for Energy Conservation Efforts

fThe Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) recently announced seven grantees that will share almost $600,000 to help support their unique, Hoosier-based community energy conservation projects.

Recipients of the 2015 Community Conservation Challenge (CCC) grants are:

Bethany Christian Schools – $100,000
Bethany Christian Schools will utilize its CCC grant dollars to install solar panels on its school roof. It will also install a wind turbine, which will be accomplished through other partnerships the school has established. Bethany Christian Schools will incorporate energy projects and conservation considerations into its student curriculum and community events.

Center for Sustainable Living – $99,989
Five congregations of different faith traditions will install solar panels to reduce their energy costs. These congregations cover a large portion of the state and include the communities of Bloomington, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Merrillville and Gary. The Center will share this project’s successes and promote energy conservation with other congregations and faith traditions around the state.

City of Bloomington – $59,381
Five facilities in Bloomington and Ellettsville – including two schools, one park, a fire station and a parking garage – will receive LED lighting upgrades and motion sensors through the CCC grant. The City of Bloomington and Monroe County will reach out to residents through all forms of traditional and social media to teach them how to become more energy efficient.

Evansville Park Foundation – $100,000
The Park Foundation will use its CCC grant dollars to install off-grid, stand-alone solar powered LED lighting with battery backups at Jacobsville Park and the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage. Neither of these locations has any form of lighting currently. These lights will not only be more energy efficient than traditional forms of lighting, but they will also help to extend park hours and provide enhanced public safety. The Parks Foundation will also reach out to residents about energy efficiency through this project. Vectren Corporation, the local electric utility, has selected this project for further study with the intent to develop an educational outreach plan for consumers.

Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) – $38,579
LED streetlights will be installed in Dublin (Wayne County) and Williamsport (Warren County) using CCC grant dollars. These LED lights will replace less efficient mercury vapor lamps. IMPA will share project successes and promote energy efficiency with its other 59 member communities and their customers.

Lake Shore Foods Corporation – $100,000
The Karwich and Franklin stores of Al’s Supermarkets in Michigan City will retrofit their lighting to LEDs. This energy efficiency project will be shared with their customers and local residents through “Al’s Good Neighbor Program” which promotes Food, Exercise and Sustainability.

Loftus Robinson – $100,000
Loftus Robinson will install a combined heat and power (CHP) project at The Switch, a mixed-used commercial facility in downtown Fishers. CHP is an integrated and highly efficient energy system that captures the “waste heat” produced by electricity generation. This waste heat is recycled and can be used for additional energy needs like heating or hot water. This system will also provide standby power for emergency lighting and elevator systems. The City of Fishers will partner with Loftus Robinson to educate the public on the project and its benefits for the community.

“We were very pleased with the response to this year’s CCC grant program,” said Tristan Vance, Director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) and Chief Energy Officer for the State. “This competitive grant program recognizes and encourages collaborative conservation efforts. Perhaps most importantly, the ability to incorporate an educational component into each community project helps tell important energy conservation stories in clear and tangible ways.”

Ivy Tech ‘Switchboard’ to Help Grow Businesses in Monroe County

The Switchboard is an online portal designed to connect entrepreneurs and business owners to the local resources they need to start or grow a business in Monroe County.

It was created through a partnership with The Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the City of Bloomington and through grants provided by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and Duke Energy.

Anyone interested in being a part of or contributing to Bloomington’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is encouraged to list yourself or your organization as a resource on The Switchboard to allow entrepreneurs to access your business or service (or just connect with you over coffee). To create a profile, just visit the site and click the “list a resource” button on the home page.

Furthermore, see the video below to learn more about The Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus: