Monday, January 26, 2015
Purdue University's College of Technology in Anderson and Cicero-based three-dimensional printing company, TWeatherford Inc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Mayor Kevin S. Smith along with 19 other Mayors and a host of Education and Industry leaders met with senior White House Economic Development and Education Staff for a discussion on Workforce Development and "Makers Space" opportunities. This Staff discussion was followed by a group conversation with the President of the United States regarding the transformative value produced when hands-on manufacturing educational programs are connected to and collaborate with Maker Space facilities.
The City of Anderson has begun the process of working with Purdue University's College of Technology in Anderson, the Flagship Enterprise Center, the Anderson Innovation Center, and area manufacturers to create a facility that will house applied engineering, advanced technology education and high-tech maker tools. One of the drivers of this development is the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, which is one of the University's Big Moves initiatives. It is aimed at radically transforming the College of Technology through renewed undergraduate programs, a state of the art approach to how learning occurs, applied research that will affect the world in a greater way, and a renewed focus on workforce development, helping the State of Indiana prosper in the future.
The City of Anderson is leading the way through a combined $150,000 Board of Work's grant to Purdue and TWI to jump start this process locally. Purdue-Anderson is working closely with TWI/3D Rapid Print and the Anderson Innovation Center to make this space operational for fall 2014. The centerpiece of this initiative will be a Maker Space where students, teachers, industry leaders and entrepreneurs come together to design, produce and test prototypes and refine new designs. Visiting and prospective students, entrepreneurs and industry leaders will witness how learning takes place when a hands-on focus is the core of the learning process. A future facility is also being planned and should be announced within the coming year with the City of Anderson, Purdue and the Flagship all playing a role.
Mayor Smith states, "The focus is on using the facility to foster an increased interest in the manufacturing industry. Simply put, this project's purpose is to raise a generation who want to make things and have the skills to be the Makers."
"We have had multiple discussions with local manufacturers in the area who want to take advantage of these new technologies and services. Innovation is critical to growing our manufacturing base. Many of them want to engage our students in this process," said Corey Sharp, Director of Purdue College of Technology Anderson.
Jon Adams, Anderson Plant Manager for GTI, states, "While we now employ 211 valued associates, GTI has separated an additional 160 candidates to reach this level of employment. This has come at significant cost to our Anderson operation. Our team sees workforce preparation and sustainability as the limiting factor to our ability to expand in Anderson."
As Mayor Smith has talked with the management of new and existing manufacturers, he has come to realize that the skill development of current and future workers is the number one need facing Anderson.
"We have now attracted new industry and assisted existing industry in creating approximately 1,400 new and 1,100 expanded job opportunities over the past 30 months. We now hear from our Manufacturers Roundtable that they struggle to find and retain qualified workers. We must address the skill issue with our existing workforce and with our children if we are to continue to grow our manufacturing base attracting new companies and assisting our existing companies to expand. Doing this requires creating a vision of cutting edge manufacturing that old and young can see, touch and get excited about and then creating a way for folks to engage and capture the skill sets that make that manufacturing possible. Our collaboration with Purdue's College of Technology, the Flagship, AIC and local manufacturers is the first step in enabling the new makers of today and tomorrow," said Mayor Smith.
Source: City of Anderson
Project Summary From Manufacturing Alliance of Communities
Anderson, Indiana will work with Purdue University's College of Technology at Anderson and the Flagship Enterprise Center (identified by the Small Business Administration as the top micro-lender in the State of Indiana in 2012) to construct a new building that will house advanced technology education and high-tech maker tools - the Purdue Polytechnic Institute - for as many as 500 students and hundreds of entrepreneurs, at the site of a former automotive plant.
The centerpiece of the Polytechnic Institute project will be a maker space where students, teachers and entrepreneurs come together to produce and test prototypes and refine new designs.
Visiting and prospective students and industrial leaders will quickly see how learning takes place when a hands-on focus is available.
Surrounding and integrated into the maker space will be a variety of spaces and tools ranging from specialized learning labs and incubator spaces, to a light industrialspace where students can work for local established and developing businesses.
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, whose leadership on this issue has been paramount to its success, states that "the focus is on using the facility to foster an increased interest in the manufacturing industry. Simply put, this project's purpose is to raise a generation who wants to make things and have the skills to be the Makers."
Source: Manufacturing Alliance of Communities