Aug. 18–Gov. Eric Holcomb visited Gary on Thursday to tout the new corporate headquarters of HMD Trucking, which plans to create 500 jobs in the Steel City by 2021.
HMD Trucking broke ground on a $6 million facility next to the USW District 7 headquarters in an industrial park just off Interstate 65 at 1350 Texas St. in Gary, which the 19-year-old Chicago Ridge-based freight hauling company will relocate to next year.
“We are thrilled to welcome HMD Trucking to Indiana — home to balanced budgets, a AAA credit rating and a low cost of doing business,” Holcomb said.
Flanked by state and local leaders, including former LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo, Holcomb also touted the state’s new “Next Level Jobs” initiative, announcing new grant programs that will reimburse employers for on-the-job training and prepare adults for high-demand industries. The state is devoting $20 million over two years to an Employer Training Grant program that will provide companies up to $2,500 to train new employees that are retained for at least six months, and also to grants for adult job seekers to get certificates at Ivy Tech in fields like manufacturing, logistics, construction, IT, and health and life sciences.
“We’ve got thousands of jobs that are unfilled and folks who are eager to fill those jobs,” Holcomb said. “To get to work they have to skill up. We as a state have got to make sure they can enter into high-wage, high-demand professions.”
Milo is the state’s first secretary of career connections and talent and will play a big role with the program.
While swinging by Northwest Indiana, Gov. Holcomb also visited the Gary Community School Corp. Thursday morning. Gary schools emergency manager Peggy Hinckley said she and the governor also visited Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School on the city’s east side.
“I had never met the governor before. He was very personable with the children,” Hinckley said. “He probably spent 40 minutes moving from table to table talking to the children. He had conversations with us, and he was a very good listener. We had an opportunity to let him know what we’ve tried to get done in 17 days.”
On Thursday afternoon, Holcomb grabbed a ceremonial shovel to welcome HMD Trucking, which has a fleet of 900 semi-trailers and currently employs 400 workers. The company is building a 9,000-square-foot office, where it will move its headquarters, and a 26,000-square-foot truck maintenance building. It will maintain a warehouse in Illinois.
“Locating at this site in Gary is a perfect match and we look forward to a long and valued relationship with the city and the state of Indiana,” HMD Trucking President and Founder Henry Malukas said.
Malukas said his business was looking to grow because of increased demand and liked Indiana’s business environment and the Gary location just southeast of Chicago.
“With this of course comes construction jobs, and hundreds of good-paying jobs,” he said. “We’ll need drivers, mechanics, management, office workers and drivers specific to this location as we ramp up later this year and in 2018. Interested applicants can apply online. We’re always looking for local people. They’re key to our success.”
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said HMD Trucking’s presence would mean more career opportunities for the city’s residents, including eventually for the students who started school Thursday.
“We’re not just at the groundbreaking for another plant,” she said. “This is the company’s world headquarters.”
To apply for jobs at HMD, check for openings posted to www.hmdtrucking.com. For additional job opportunities or more information about the grants, visit http://nextleveljobs.com.
Times staff writer Carmen McCollum contributed to this report.
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