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Obama to discuss manufacturing jobs, industry in Gibson County

Cass Herrington

President Barack Obama will highlight the middle class, jobs creation and the manufacturing industry during his presentation in Gibson County today.

His visit comes at a time, and a place, where approval ratings are low, but it seems the economic numbers are in his favor.

Princeton’s Mayor Bob Hurst, a democrat, is excited about today’s presidential visit.

“I may be one who gets his picture with the president. I’ve got a picture with Bill Clinton and with Hillary when she came to town campaigning,” Hurst said.

But Hurst has another reason to be excited, Obama will highlight the County’s manufacturing industry, a major employer and investor in this small town.

Last year, Princeton was awarded a Stellar Community grant for projects aimed at improving quality of life for amenities like parks, a theater renovation, housing and a facelift for its aging downtown.

Toyota committed one million dollars to these projects – which Hurst says those are crucial upgrades for improving quality of life, or in other words, for attracting and retaining a happy, skilled workforce.  

“I think mainly he's coming here to look at the economic development of Gibson County and surrounding counties, we have a fairly low unemployment rate,” Hurst said.

In fact, the Toyota manufacturing plant, just a few miles away, is hiring.

“We’ve gone through massive growth over the last couple of years," Toyota’s Human Resources General Manager Tim Hollander said. "The Highlander is selling extremely well, we can't make enough of them."

The Princeton location is looking to fill nearly 300 jobs this year, said Hollander.

"In today's manufacturing environment, we need people that can work on robotics and high tech equipment, so we partnered with Vincennes University for an internship program," Hollander said. "Those types of core programs are critical."

Hollander says he’s proud Obama is highlighting Indiana’s manufacturing industry, which makes up for more than a third of the state’s GDP.

“We still are very much a manufacturing state, manufacturing still really means something. We have very good paying jobs," Hollander said.

And Princeton Mayor Bob Hurst says, he hopes Obama will stop by downtown to see how manufacturing is helping that part of the county.

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