Sharing our Context
ABCD and Rural Communities
I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have lived in the county we still call home for our entire lives other than being away at college, but this was still home. We couldn't wait to get back. I lived in the corner of the county bordering two other counties until I was 17 and my parents sold the family homestead. The total population of the county is 48,000. Eight years ago we moved from one side of the county to the other and now live in a small golf community just out side of the largest town in the county, pop. 9,000. I didn't think I would like living with houses this close, but there are only 85 homes here and we are a close neighborhood that really takes care of one another. I recently took over coordinating the Cobblestone Directory so I could get to know my neighbors even better. It has been fun.
Noble County, IN is 41% manufacturing in its employment followed by education, retail and 4th being agriculture (there goes THAT myth that we all live down on the farm!) The manufacturing here is heavily automotive so we took a pretty big hit with COVID, but we are back to the pre-covid significant issue of WAY more jobs than workers to fill them. Unfortunately, we have had people flat out tell us they are "taking the summer off" because they can "get a job anywhere whenever they want." The problem with that is that we have already lost two major employers and another line from a third. They are going where they can get workers which means the people who WERE working just lost jobs in which they had gained seniority. They have jobs but are starting at the bottom of the totem pole again. It's rough to watch.
Housing ... lack of it ... is a big issue here. It's worse now than before COVID. Many landlords here are small business sort of landlords and the moratoriums completely took them out. Several sold the homes and walked away. Don't get me started on the horrible trickle down impact of moratoriums. Our people are in serious debt from riding that for so long and we're now working with them to try to get them out of that trench.
I'm attaching a Mission Insite report that's fairly accurate except I don't fully agree with the diversity status. We have a pretty significant population from Mexico (our home town is 52% or higher out of 4600 or so people) and there is a significant population from Yemin here in Kendallville. We have a lot of Amish folks, as well. Other than that, it's pretty accurate, but I just ran it and haven't taken a deep dive yet.
Now I'm off to start a staycation in which we will explore our county and surrounding area on foot, on bikes and in our Jeep!