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* Purdue Office of Engagement
* Purdue College of Technology at Columbus
* Technical Assistance Program
* Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce

March 23, 2007

Purdue to partner with Columbus on economic development

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will work with the Columbus Area Economic Growth Council to stimulate economic development in southeast central Indiana.

Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue vice provost for engagement, will speak about the university's efforts in the region during a special meeting of the council at 2 p.m. Thursday (March 29) at the Columbus Learning Center, 4555 Central Ave., Columbus Ind.

"With the new Honda plant in Greensburg, the Cummins expansion and regional interest in manufacturing clusters, economic development in Columbus and the surrounding region is gaining momentum," Lechtenberg said. "Purdue wants to do its part to boost the number of high-paying jobs in that region and educate the highly trained work force needed to fill those jobs."

Andy Schaffer, director of Purdue's College of Technology at Columbus, Greensburg and New Albany, said the business and government leaders who will be in attendance at the meeting want to work more closely with Purdue.

"One of our most valuable educational assets in this region is the Purdue College of Technology in Columbus and Greensburg where students get the hands-on experience employers seek," Schaffer said. "The council wants to know what else Purdue is doing to educate our work force and boost the economy."

Jack Hess, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce president, said he and other members of the council are eager to exchange ideas with Lechtenberg.

"The Columbus Area Economic Growth Council is enthusiastic to hear Dr. Lechtenberg's comments regarding a closer working partnership between Purdue and Columbus, Indiana," Hess said. "Purdue brings a tremendous amount of assets to the table with regard to economic development, including an engaged student base, a world-class research program, a number of technical assistance initiatives and a portfolio of technology with commercialization applications and potential."

More than 6,000 students are currently pursuing Purdue degrees in computer graphics technology, computer and informational technology, electrical engineering technology, industrial technology, organizational leadership and supervision, and mechanical engineering technology at Purdue College of Technology campuses throughout Indiana. The Columbus campus also plans to offer a weekend master's program for full-time employees interested in graduate education.

The Purdue College of Technology at Columbus is one of three educational institutions located at the Columbus Learning Center. Also included at the center are Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUC. The institutions share space at the center but are governed by three separate organizational entities.

Purdue also plans to open an office in Columbus for its Technical Assistance Program, which provides Purdue resources to Indiana companies to help them grow and remain globally competitive. The program provides assistance with advanced manufacturing and logistics, business management, information technology, product development, quality, manufacturing processes, skill development and human resource issues. More than 6,500 companies throughout Indiana have benefited from the program since it began in 1986.

The Columbus Area Economic Growth Council was formed in 2006 to create and sustain economic growth for the community, to align education with economic growth, and to foster a welcoming community. Member organizations include the Columbus Economic Development Board, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Enterprise Development Corporation, Community Education Coalition, city of Columbus, Columbus Redevelopment Commission, Columbus Area Visitors Center and Bartholomew County Commissioners.

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

Sources: Victor L. Lechtenberg, (765) 494-9095

Andy Schaffer, (812) 314-8619, aschaffe@purdue.edu

Jack Hess, (812) 379-4457, jhess@columbusareachamber.com

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

Note to Journalists: The media are invited to cover the economic growth council meeting, which is not open to the public. To reserve as seat, contact Jill Kelley at (812) 348-7245, kelleyp@purdue.edu.

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