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February 1, 2007

Technical Assistance Program to jump-start Jasper region

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will provide an economic development boost to southwest Indiana by opening a new Technical Assistance Program office in Jasper, Ind.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Dubois County Area Development Corp. officials, along with Purdue President Martin C. Jischke, announced the opening Thursday (Feb. 1) at the 2007 annual meeting of the Dubois County Area Development Corp. The Technical Assistance Program, which connects businesses with Purdue resources and assists them in implementing state-of-the art technologies, will work from that field office to help companies in the Jasper region remain globally competitive.

The program also manages the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and is a partner of the IEDC. Through this network, companies will receive assistance in work force, energy, quality, productivity and other assessment, educational and implementation services.

Technical Assistance Program director David McKinnis said the new office is expected to open in May. It is funded by $300,000 in grants, including $150,000 from the Dubois County Area Development Corp. and $150,000 from a regional partnership composed of an economic development organization representing Crawford, Dubois, Lawrence, Martin, Orange and Washington counties. The Jasper Chamber of Commerce also supports the expansion.

"Through our newest office, we look forward to working with manufacturers in the Jasper region to support innovation, reduce costs and increase productivity," McKinnis said. "With companies such as Kimball International Inc., MasterBrand Cabinets, Jasper Desk and Jasper Engines & Transmissions, this region is manufacturing intensive. Purdue is eager to serve as a key work force development and technology transfer partner in Dubois and its surrounding counties."

Nathan J. Feltman, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Indiana Economic Development Corp. president, said the state of Indiana values this new partnership.

"With its vast network of Purdue experts, the Technical Assistance Program has done an excellent job helping Indiana companies solve problems and boost their bottom lines," Feltman said. "The Jasper office will be especially helpful as a resource to manufacturing companies in southern Indiana that are working to improve operating efficiency."

Robert Grewe, Dubois County Area Development Corp. president, said establishing the new office helps to satisfy one of the top goals of his organization -- helping with the retention and expansion of existing industries.

"Providing the region's manufacturing base ready access to Purdue's resources via the Technical Assistance Program will be a tremendous tool to help companies remain competitive in the global marketplace," Grewe said. "It also is exciting to have a Purdue footprint in the region to explore future partnerships and programs."

The Jasper office will be the eighth Technical Assistance Program location. The program recently opened offices in Merrillville, Anderson, Fort Wayne and Rising Sun and plans to establish an office at the Purdue Technology Center of Southern Indiana in New Albany. Offices also have been established in Kokomo and Indianapolis.

The Technical Assistance Program served 536 employers in 2005-06, including at least one company in every county. According to the program's recently released annual report, the companies reported $16.8 million in increased sales, nearly $31.7 million in sales retained, more than $5 million in cost savings, nearly $9.5 million in capital investments and 385 jobs created or retained.

"By expanding our reach and helping more companies improve their operations, Purdue realizes its goal to serve as an educational and economic partner throughout the state," McKinnis said. "We are confident that our increased presence in southern Indiana will reap significant economic rewards for that region."

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

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

Robert Grewe, (812) 482-9650, bgrewe@DCADC.org

Weston Sedgwick, IEDC media relations, (317) 232-8873, wsedgwick@iedc.in.gov

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

Related Web sites:
Technical Assistance Program: http://www.purdue.edu/TAP

Indiana Economic Development Corp: http://www.in.gov/iedc/

Dubois County Area Development Corp.: http://www.dcadc.org/

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