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At first glance, the cluster of unassuming squares on a map of East Central Indiana may not look like much.  When you look more closely, you’ll see opportunities you never imagined. 
This region, consisting of Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph, Rush and Wayne Counties, is centrally located in the US and an ideal location for new businesses and expansions.  There are plenty of reasons why.  It is home to thousands of diverse employers.  A skilled workforce with a strong history in innovation, manufacturing, food processing, agriculture, logistics and information technology.  Affordable homes, land and taxes.  World-class educational institutions.  Established transportation networks. Strong heartland values, admirable work ethics and an excellent business environment. 
Welcome to East Central Indiana.  Moving the Future of Business. Together.  
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Workforce development is an essential ingredient in today’s manufacturing world. But, it’s far from a new concept. Apprenticeships and high school tech-ed programs have long served as cornerstones for developing employees. So have trade schools and, of course, on-the-job training. Ahaus Tool & Engineering of Richmond has been developing its own machinists and engineers since the late 1970s. Many of its current 90-plus employees were originally drawn there through technical education programs at Richmond and other high schools in the area.
Becky Cole thought she’d put brown paper over the windows as work began last summer on the new restaurant she recently opened in Cambridge City along with her husband, Ron. But, that never happened for one major reason: Residents kept stopping by and looking in as Cole’s Dining & Spirits took shape. They couldn’t wait for it to open.
Wick's Pies might not have a window sill on which to cool its freshly-baked products, but that doesn't mean the old-fashioned pies are all that different from what most of East Central Indiana's older generations grew up with.
It's been a familiar local brand for nearly 75 years, and now has pies sold in 36 states, according to sales director Marsha Wickersham, daughter of the company's founders. From the start of the process through to the final packaging, everything at Wick's Winchester factory is done with great care.
The house that Garfield built is set back from a little-traveled country road near Albany, Indiana.
Paws Incorporated headquarters, as it's formally called, is home to the world's most famous cat, but it's not a studio that often opens its doors to the public. Inside, the world of Garfield comes to life in ways that go beyond just a simple comic strip.
Every month or so for more than two years, Tim Sparks has driven from his Cambridge City workplace to near the old family farm off Carlos Road and Indiana 38.
He walks along the Greens Fork River and reflects on the good times he had as a child on the 275-acre corn and bean farm that was run by his father, Thomas. “It was a great place to grow up,” Sparks says.
Rush County recently became the first in Indiana to be certified as an ACT™ Work Ready Community. The Rush County Economic Development Corporation began their work in the program back in April 2014 and successfully completed the certification in March of this year. 
It matters a lot. That’s the consensus about Manufacturing Matters (MM), a pioneering job training program. Simply put, the program is about meeting skills in demand and making matches now and in the future. Manufacturers need hardworking and qualified employees. And many Wayne County citizens need better jobs to have better lives.
Progress Progress Rail, the state-of-the-art locomotive maker and the largest automated manufacturing cell in North America that repairs and renovates freight cars and locomotives, is poised to usher in a new era of U.S. passenger trains. Joining forces with Spain-based rail maker Vossloh, Muncie’s Progress Rail facility is building 20 passenger locomotives for Metrolink, southern California’s regional rail authority. The train will run on a Cat®, 20-cylinder engine, have Vossloh’s high-speed, unibody design and be capable of 120 miles per hour. It’s just the latest in a series of remarkable events that saved a long-vacant factory and brought hundreds of skilled trade jobs to Muncie and Delaware County.
Ontario Systems is the kind of high-tech, intellectually driven software company any community would love to land. Even better is a co-founder and CEO who evangelizes the attributes of doing business in small communities like his.
Muncie, Indiana’s own Ron Fauquher is a believer. He believes how much you give will directly impact how much you get.

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