Aviation and aerospace sector leaders say their industries can continue to grow in Indiana, but recruiting and training enough talented workers remain vexing challenges for companies that seem otherwise poised for further expansion.
Some of Indiana’s largest players in that space—from Rolls-Royce to Raytheon to Alcoa to Republic Airways Holdings—said Thursday that a key challenge is making aerospace and aviation a “cool” career when marketing it to recent college graduates who are more interested in major technology firms like Apple or Google.
“We need to make sure we advertise the things we do in our aerospace or aviation companies,” said Freddie Sarhan, vice president of Indianapolis-based Praxair Surface Technologies. “They are cool. They are high-tech. They are breakthrough. Most of our companies are business-to-business. We don’t market these skill sets to the general population. You need to speak the same language.”
Executives from several major companies in the sector discussed those challenges at IBJ's Aviation & Aerospace in Indiana event Thursday morning at the downtown Indianapolis Marriott.
City government, economic development, workforce development, education
Colombo grew up in the Chicago suburbs before moving to Indianapolis to attend Butler University. She graduated from Butler in 2012 with degrees in journalism and political science before spending two years covering business and higher education at the Lafayette Journal & Courier and a year covering Indianapolis Public Schools for the not-for-profit news site Chalkbeat Indiana. Colombo joined IBJ in 2015 as a reporter, where she has covered multiple elections, held politicians accountable when they passed a law creating a monopoly, uncovered suspect spending of tax dollars in public schools, and explored challenges facing the city.
Colombo is also a member of the board of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Indiana chapter.
Beyond journalism, Colombo’s passions include the First Amendment, her elderly Cairn Terrier named Tilly, cooking and watching copious amounts of HGTV. Her life goal is to travel to all 50 states—she’s just a little more than halfway there.