Auto plant closings may swell college enrollments

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and Indiana Business College are bracing for an expected wave of enrollments, now that three big auto parts companies have announced plant closings in Indiana this year, according to The Star Press of Muncie.

The 2004 closing of Thomson Consumer Electronics’ television picture tube plant in Marion caused a 20 percent surge in enrollments at Ivy Tech’s Marion campus, the newspaper said.

Laid-off workers wanting to get quickly back into the job market often become nurse’s aides or computer technicians, or pursue trades such as welding and industrial maintenance.

Michigan-based Visteon announced Feb. 1 that it will close its Connersville heating and air-conditioning components plant in September, affecting 890 employees. BorgWarner, also headquartered in Michigan, said Feb. 8 that it will shutter its Muncie transmission transfer case factory in 2009, putting 780 out of work. And in January, Pendleton-based Guide Corp. suddenly closed a taillight plant in Anderson, throwing about 1,000 out of work. All supply domestic automakers that are struggling to sell vehicles.

The Palladium-Item of Richmond reported that the closings are rippling miles beyond the plants themselves. Mosey Manufacturing Co., of Richmond, hopes another company takes the place of BorgWarner Inc. in Muncie so it can continue selling parts. Oberle Construction, a Richmond contractor, is looking for work to replace an exclusive construction contract it held at Visteon’s Connersville plant since 2003.

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