It's no secret that Elkhart County has been hit hard by the recession, as the RV industry struggles and jobs are lost; but one event this weekend hopes to lift up spirits and change the way the county, the state, and the world look at job creation.
The “Green Jobs for America” Entertainment and Education Expo takes place this Saturday, September 5th, from 3:30 to 11 p.m. at the Electric Motors Corporation Headquarters at 905 Nelsons Parkway in Wakarusa.
62-year-old laid-off RV worker Ed Neufeldt now has a job at Electric Motors and he says it’s changed his life.
“To land a job in Elkhart County is just, wow, what a feeling,” Neufeldt said. “It’s lifted my self esteem so high and I have a passion now for Elkhart County and for the people that are unemployed in this county and throughout the United States. I want to see people back to work and we think we can do it through ‘Green Jobs for America.’”
Neufeldt said he used to work at Monaco Coach, and got to introduce President Barack Obama back in February when he came to Elkhart to announce his stimulus plan.
Even though the Electric Motors Corporation hasn’t secured any federal funding yet, they say they’re moving along with their plans.
“You can’t base a business plan on a loan from a bank, that’s for sure,” CEO Wil Cashen said. “We’re always applying for more money and we’re always hoping for more things to make the area bigger because that’s what makes this program get larger and larger and larger, and hire more and more people.”
During Saturday’s expo, Cashen says they’ll also give a sneak peek of their brand new light-duty electric truck, the EMC “Flash”.
“I think that people will be excited about it because they’ll see that we’re delivering on our promise to help revitalize the Elkhart community,” Cashen said.
Cashen and Neufeldt both say the expo is a chance for them to bring attention to all the companies out there that manufacture “green” products, and to explain to people who might not understand what “green” jobs are. For example, mass transit, energy efficient vehicles, solar power, wind power, and bio fuels.
EMC plans to create 1600 jobs by 2012.