U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (right) meets with a U.S. Department of Labor official. Visclosky has pushed the expansion of the Gary/Chicago Airport, which could become the new economic engine for The Region as U.S. Steel sheds more jobs. (NWI Times Photo)
Thursday, May 21, 2015 9:45 AM
By RICH JAMES
- U.S. Steel, the company that built Gary, Ind., more than 100 years
ago, once employed more than 20,000 people in Lake County. But that
number has been declining since the late 1970s when the steel industry
modernized and needed fewer workers to do the job.
level continues to decline – not so much because of modernization – but
because of the unfair competition from foreign steel.
has laid off more than 1,000 workers over the last year. While some of
them eventually will be rehired, the majority of those workers never
will be called back.
As a result, the need for a diversified job
market continues to grow in the self-proclaimed City of the Century, a
label Gary adopted in the late 1950s. And that call for diversity may be on the brink of being answered. After
years of delays and cost overruns, it appears the Gary/Chicago
International Airport may be about to become a player in the greater
Midwest air transportation network. Two federal grants totaling almost
$6 million were announced by U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville,
this week. One of the grants is the 10th payment of a $50 million letter of intent issued in 2006 for runway expansion.