January 4, 2007

Technical Assistance Program extends economic impact

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The economic impact of the partnerships among Purdue University's Technical Assistance Program and Indiana businesses, along with state and local governments, has equaled $16.8 million in increased sales, $31.675 million in sales retained, about $9.5 million in capital investment and $5.1 million in cost savings for 2005-06, according to the program's recently released annual report.

Employees of Red Gold use the latest technology
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The Technical Assistance Program worked with 545 companies, hospitals, health departments and governmental units in 2005-06. These clients reported that because of the program they created or retained 385 jobs.

The program, which began in 1986, provides the expertise and problem-solving services of Purdue experts to companies and health-care providers throughout Indiana. Demand for these services has prompted the program to double the number of employees and triple its budget during the past year.

Over the past decade, the program operated with approximately 20 full-time employees and a budget of $1.5 million. Approximately 40 full-time staff now run the $5.3 million program. New offices also have opened in Merrillville, Fort Wayne, Anderson and Rising Sun so that services could be more easily accessible. Another office is scheduled to open in New Albany in 2008.

Three recently established partnerships or programs have allowed the Technical Assistance Program to expand its services. Healthcare TAP, which was launched in May 2005, is a partnership with the Indiana Hospital&Health Association and Purdue's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. Through it, interdisciplinary teams from Purdue's College of Engineering and School of Nursing helped 15 Indiana hospitals improve patient care, safety and productivity in 2005-06. Healthcare TAP also performed a gap analysis of pandemic influenza plans for each of Indiana's 94 health departments.

Another partnership enabled the Technical Assistance Program to assume responsibility for the Indiana Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center, which helps manufacturers implement lean manufacturing, quality systems and other initiatives to improve their operations. The center is a partnership with the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the state of Indiana. According to the annual report, it served 79 companies in 2005-06, through which 1,600 workers received $2 million in training to update their skills.

The Technical Assistance Program also offers the Energy Efficiency Program, which helps companies reduce their gas or electricity consumption. More than 58 firms received industrial energy usage assessments in 2005-06.

The program also continues to support Indiana companies by making teams of faculty, staff and students available to offer free short-term assistance with product development, advanced manufacturing, information technology and management issues. Since its inception, the Technical Assistance Program has completed more than 6,000 assistance projects. Indiana companies also have created or preserved nearly 4,600 Indiana jobs since Purdue launched the program.

Technical Assistance Program director David McKinnis said these services position Indiana for strong economic growth in the health-care and manufacturing sectors.

"By making Purdue experts available to Indiana companies and hospitals, we can help them operate more efficiently," McKinnis said. "This results in decreased costs, increased jobs and, ultimately, a better quality of life for all Indiana residents."

Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue's vice provost for engagement, said the Technical Assistance Program is a prime example of how Purdue is fulfilling its mission of being a strong economic partner with the state.

"The Technical Assistance Program helps Indiana companies increase profits, become more competitive and increase customer satisfaction," Lechtenberg said. "By doing this, companies can grow and compete globally."

The state provides $1.1 million annually to the program for business assistance, enabling Purdue faculty to provide up to five days of free service on qualifying projects. Grants and fees fund lean manufacturing training and implementation, technical information, energy assessments, networking and security assessments, services to hospitals, and work force development.

Tomato product producer Red Gold of Orestes, Ind., requested that Technical Assistance Program experts help them improve operational efficiency.

"Purdue is helping us invest in our most valuable asset, our people," said Brian Reichart, Red Gold President and CEO. "Their training has educated and developed our employees in eliminating waste and creating ongoing improvements. Red Gold is known as one of the top producers in the country. I want to make sure we stay on top. The Technical Assistance Program is taking us in the right direction."

Another Technical Assistance Program mission is to increase the number of Purdue graduates who accept jobs in Indiana. To that end, the program sponsors the High-Tech Job Fair for Indiana Companies, annually attended by hundreds of students.

McKinnis said representatives from more than 60 Indiana companies met and interviewed potential employees and interns at this year's job fair, which took place Oct. 25.

"The High Tech Job Fair is one of the best ways Purdue helps its highly skilled graduates find good paying jobs in-state," McKinnis said. "Several companies come back year after year to recruit Purdue grads."

Through the job fair and other initiatives, the program also has placed nearly 1,000 students in summer internships since 1988.

"Indiana's economic investment in the Technical Assistance Program is paying big dividends for the future of our state and our quality of life," Lechtenberg said. "Now that the program is expanding, the future is even more promising."

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704, mforbes@purdue.edu

Sources: Victor L. Lechtenberg, (765) 494-9095, vll@purdue.edu

David McKinnis, (765) 494-6258, mckinnis@purdue.edu

Brian Reichart, (765) 754-7527

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: A copy of the annual report is available online or by contacting the Technical Assistance Program office at (765) 494-6258.

Employees of tomato product producer Red Gold of Orestes, Ind., use the latest technology on the assembly line. The company has worked with Purdue's Technical Assistance Program to educate employees on eliminating waste and increasing efficiency. The program, which recently released its 2005-06 annual report, provides the expertise and problem-solving services of Purdue experts to companies and health-care providers throughout Indiana so that they can remain competitive in the global marketplace. (Photo courtesy of Red Gold)

A publication-quality photo is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2006/redgold-TAP.jpg


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