In my final One-on-One Special Report, Mayor Terry Seitz and I discuss the city's economic role not only in the state of Indiana but in the entire world.
"Our city mill here is one of a replica of some of the mills that have occured here already and really it's where Jasper is named because, they had looked in the Bible and it was going to be named after a family member and she said she didn't want it to be named after her and she looked at the founation stone for Jeruselum which was Jasper. And that's how the city got its name....so it traces right to here."
Voted in the Top 25 "Best Small Towns in America," Jasper is anything but small.
Mayor Terry Seitz says no matter where you are, Jasper is most likely right there with you.
"If you have desks, tables, chairs, whatever it maybe in an office, or believe it or not, coming out to develop what would commonly be known as cubicles, that literally came from Jasper. It's a national and internatinoal influence in our community. We constantly in our community have people traveling to Asia, Europe, we have operations in all those, so, even though Jasper is an economic center, it's a micropolitan economy."
Jasper, a town of only 15,000, employs 20,000 people.
As an industrial giant, Mayor Seitz says the biggest challenge for the city is not finding jobs for people but rather finding people for all of the jobs.
"We have had jobs that have been announced by our companies and frankly with the state's highest employment, we're lacking people to fulfill them. So we've had great faith by our companies and in liking the work force and wanting to expand here, like the quality of life for their employees, but ultimately we probably are right now 1,000 jobs ahead of people to fill them."
At 96 percent employment, Mayor Seitz is confident those jobs will be filled.
But Jasper isn't just a manufacturing town, it's a place Mayor Seitz says has many unique features anyone would love.
"We have a great quality of life, wonderful schools, Jasper has the only municiply funded arts department in the entire midwest. We have police, fire, street, park, arts....funded right from our city tax payers. We've made an investment in quality of life and we welcome you."
And as Jasper continues to grow, Mayor Seitz believes it's the big charm that makes this small town one of America's best.
"This is one of those place you want to live. When they say, 'New York City. Great place to visit, wouldn't want to live there.' ...... Jasper. Great place to visit. I'd love to live there."
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