Develop Indy: Deals reached in 2019 expected to create 4,000 jobs

Indianapolis’ economic development agency negotiated 67 relocation or expansion projects in 2019 that are expected to create more than 4,000 jobs, the city announced Tuesday.

Develop Indy said it had offered economic development deals through Dec. 11, that, if successful, should lead to 4,044 new jobs and 6,833 retained jobs. Those jobs pay an average wage of more than $32 an hour, a record high wage for average wages involved in city incentive agreements.

Together, the deals represent $516 million in new investment, the city said.

In 2019, Develop Indy focused its efforts on so-called opportunity industries, which offer “good” and “promising” jobs, meaning they lead to or provide middle class wages and benefits. More than 85% of this year’s projects are creating jobs that are “good” or “promising,” the city reported.

“As we look back on the list of companies that chose to grow in Indianapolis this year, we are excited to see the opportunities this creates for working families,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in written comments. “With average wages reaching $32/hour, our focus on Opportunity Industries is paying off as we begin to close the gap on income inequality in Indianapolis.”

Major deals this year include Allison Transmission’s plan to build a new vehicle emissions testing facility and innovation center in Speedway, which is expected to lead to 300 new jobs, and private health insurance marketplace eHealth’s plan to establish a headquarters in Indianapolis and hire 500 employees.

Develop Indy plans to make more changes to its incentives program to promote inclusive growth. In July, Hogsett and representatives from the Indy Chamber, where Develop Indy is housed, presented new guidelines for granting economic development incentives.

Instead of focusing on the number of new or retained jobs in the scoring of proposed projects, the city will also take into account the participation of businesses owned by veterans, minorities and women. It also establishes baseline requirements for jobs to be incentivized: sustainable wages (at least $18 an hour), health benefits, workforce support funding, and community impact.

Those changes took effect Jan. 1.

“Through these changes to our incentives programs, we’re maximizing our city’s return on investment,” Indy Chamber Vice President Ian Nicolini, who leads Develop Indy, said in a written statement. “By investing in job quality, our city can incentivize growth that provides both job opportunity and a sustainable workforce for the community.”

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