"We know that the current building we're in doesn't do us any favors when it comes to impressing people on the commitment we make to training," Brand told Automotive News. "We think the new building will certainly put a better complexion on that."
Construction of the 20,000-square-foot building is set to wrap up in October. It will open at a time when Subaru of Indiana, with an annual production volume approaching 400,000 vehicles, is facing a competitive market for new hires.
"It's tight right now," Brand said. "The labor market in the state of Indiana has been hovering at about a 3 percent unemployment level for many months now. The local economy is actually even healthier than that. We have had our struggles in getting people in. We continue to work through our sourcing and staffing partners. We are casting a little bit wider net in the region."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana's unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent from October to February. In the Lafayette-West Lafayette area, the unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in October, 3 percent in November and December and 3.7 percent in January and February.
Brand said Lafayette and the eight surrounding counties are Subaru of Indiana's core for gathering its work force, but the manufacturer now is broadening its search.
"We are looking beyond that eight-county region into more of the central Indiana areas," said Brand, adding that now the net goes as far south as Indianapolis, roughly 60 miles away.
Subaru's plant currently employs 5,700 people.
The new training center, double the size of the current one, is the latest investment at the plant.
Subaru of Indiana added Impreza sedan and hatchback production in late 2016, followed by the three-row Ascent crossover last year. Subaru invested $140 million for the Ascent production.
In late July this year, production of two redesigns, the 2020 Legacy midsize sedan and 2020 Outback midsize crossover, is set to begin. Brand said Subaru of Indiana will add around 100 people to the plant for those launches.