WHITLEY COUNTY — Local business owner and employer Jerry Busche was a finalist selected to participate in the Anchor Employer Workforce Housing Program.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority awarded $1 million to Impact CNC, owned by Busche, to address Indiana’s workforce housing shortage.

Impact CNC was one of four finalists: French Lick Resort, IU Health and Zimmer Biomet were also selected. The $1 million IHCDA investment will be matched or exceeded by each participating employer to develop workforce housing in their communities.

In conjunction with the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation and consultant Lori Shipman, Impact CNC was selected to receive the matching investment.

“Whitley County is a great place to live if you can find a place to live,” Shipman, Whitley County EDC community development consultant. “There are a multitude of jobs but limited housing available for prospective new residents. We are excited about this venture with Jerry Busche and the impact it will have on our community.”

In an effort to meet the demands of the Columbia City area employers, Jerry Busche applied for the grant to build housing for employees.

“We are pleased to partner with these key employers on this innovative approach to addressing the workforce housing needs in our state,” Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch said. “By participating in this new program, these organizations further prove how important housing is in attracting and retaining talent.”

In the request for proposals released in June, IHCDA asked employers to think creatively and develop a proposal tailored to the needs of the community and submit a Workforce Housing Investment Strategy.

Impact CNC is one of the top 10 largest employers in Whitley County and on average has five job openings at any given time. The primary barrier to hiring workers and bringing them to Columbia City is housing. Workers often look for a rental home for their families while they get settled and can start looking for a single-family home to purchase.

“The housing market impacts hiring and retention,” Busche said. “I’m really excited about the potential this project brings and know the investment will go a long way to support skilled manufacturing workers to relocate to Columbia City.”

IHCDA has partnered with Thomas P. Miller and Associates to host a workforce housing workshop in November with each of the selected employers and their partner organizations to further develop the housing plans.

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