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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s workforce was hit hard at the beginning of the pandemic, but the state’s Secretary of Commerce says we’re making progress as we reach the end of the year.

“Knock on wood, we’re very privileged that we have more new jobs that most states in the country,” Jim Schellinger told Inside Indiana Business. “We’re approaching 20,000 new job commitments this year.”

Schellinger said the state has 168 new projects, and most of them haven’t even been announced yet.

A few were made known last week though. Mission Foods, which makes tortilla shells and chips, announced they are building a new facility in Plainfield, and will create more than 500 new jobs by 2026. Alliance Steel announced that it is moving its headquarters from Illinois to Gary, bringing 130 jobs to Lake County.

“These companies come to us, we don’t approach them,” Schellinger said. “We have over 60 companies that have relocated to Indiana over the last year-and-a-half to two years. They’re coming here for lower taxes, they’re coming here for reasonable regulations, they’re coming here because of our business-friendly climate, and they’re coming here for our workforce.”

Schellinger says Governor Holcomb has been doing a good job during the pandemic, and the state continues to work hard to strengthen the workforce after 2020, but right now, they’re “continuing to log laps, albeit, under a yellow flag.”