Minority-Built Cook Medical Manufacturing Plant Opens East Side – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new medical manufacturing plant has opened in the heart of Indy’s east side.

The factory was an idea born out of a push for social justice.

News 8 first reported on the partnership between Cook Medical and Goodwill nearly two years ago.

At Wednesday’s opening, Governor Eric Holcomb said watching it all fall into place was like watching the stars align, showing the value of community investment. He said using contractors and minority jobs is a model other companies can follow.

Cook Medical’s manufacturing facility is the first step to seeing a community, accustomed to non-investment and job loss, get a bit of a head start.

After the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd by a police office in Minneapolis, Cook Medical joined other companies in evaluating ways to make a difference. As a company, Cook’s representatives say, investing in the community was a tangible action. So, in collaboration with Goodwill Industries, they purchased land near North Sheridan Avenue and 38th Street. Cook and Goodwill are committed to 100% minority and female contractors.

“We wanted to find an area that was filled with diversity,” said Goodwill’s Kent Kramer. “We wanted to find an area that has seen job losses, an area that hasn’t seen significant investment.”

The facility will have 100 positions, and they will run the place. Director Juanita Easterling said Wednesday, “I never thought I would be here today in front of all of you preparing to open a manufacturing facility in my grandparents’ backyard.”

Although Easterling moved away years ago, she is back home. “It’s really important that I do my best because not only do I represent this establishment, but I represent my family.”

Organizers said they hoped the facility would provide a blueprint that others would soon follow.

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