NAPPANEE - The Jobs Tour program, an educational forum held in Nappanee on March 5 at 3 p.m., is an open-to-the-public event for residents of Elkhart, Kosciusko and Marshall counties.  

The event will be at 159 E. Lincoln St., Nappanee. Free parking is available in the adjacent municipal parking lot.

The Jobs Tour is a statewide effort to explain the economic benefits that have flowed to Hoosier families from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the American Rescue Plan.  The forum will be held on a revolving basis during 2022 in every congressional district in Indiana, according to a news release provided Monday from ACT Nappanee-Wakarusa.

Speakers at the March 5 event will be local and statewide officials, including Aaron Mishler, 1st District Elkhart city councilman; Destiny Wells, Democratic candidate for Indiana secretary of state; Maureen Bauer, 6th District Indiana state representative; and Thomas McDermott Jr., currently mayor of Hammond and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“The current economic climate in Elkhart County is strong,” stated Mishler. “Our county has the highest average weekly wage in the eight-county area. Many of the features of the Jobs Act will make sure we continue the upward economic momentum we have in the county. The American Rescue Plan alone poured $18.9 million into the city of Elkhart, including dollars for road and bridge repairs that decrease the commuting time for our workers.”   

A total of $40.2 million was allocated for Elkhart County, much of which has not yet been deployed due to various delaying mechanisms of a partisan nature, the release states.

The $350 million earmarked in this legislation for broadband expansion in Indiana will bring better internet access to every Indiana zip code.  

“Our businesses need strong internet to improve their operations and increase our competitiveness. Our schools need strong internet to enable them to offer the best learning programs so our students have more job and career opportunities,” Mishler said.

Between December 2020 and December 2021, unemployment rates in the Elkhart area fell from 3.5% to 0.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Funds from the American Rescue Plan were also used for small business grants that have resulted in the bounce-back of dozens of businesses in the area.  

“Every community and county matters, and we want Hoosier voters to know about the important role of the Democratic Party in delivery of long-term investments that are shaping a better tomorrow,” said Chad Crabtree, chairman of the Elkhart County Democratic Party. “Sadly, every single Indiana Republican member of Congress, including Jackie Walorski, opposed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

The Jobs Tour is also part of the process whereby local Democrats and party leaders discuss policy elements that will shape the party’s platform “The Hoosier Promise,” which will move from draft to final document to be approved during the Indiana Democratic Party convention in June. The March 5 event is hosted by ACT Nappanee-Wakarusa, Elkhart County Young Democrats and the Elkhart County Democratic Party.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, wearing of masks and social distancing is recommended for this indoor event.