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IU, Purdue recommit to collaboration with employers

July 25th, 2017

By Doug LeDuc | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Northeast Indiana employers will continue to benefit from ongoing engagement with the state’s two major research universities - including their technology transfer efforts - following next year’s realignment of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Indiana University and Purdue University have conducted that kind of work in the region through IPFW’s Office of Engagement since it was created in January 2006.

Both of the universities recommitted to continuing that partnership with the office after IPFW’s realignment takes place next July 1 and the local university is renamed Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The tech startup potential this represents is important for efforts to reduce poverty and increase prosperity in the region because tech jobs tend to pay better than average and because businesses founded in northeast Indiana are more likely to increase its employment opportunities.

“The office represents an important collaboration between northeast Indiana businesses, Purdue, IU, and the Fort Wayne campus,” Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management at IPFW, said in a statement.

“The mission has been to leverage university resources in order to facilitate technology transfer, innovative business development, and economic growth in the region. We look forward to continuing that partnership in the years to come.”

The office was created to provide the universities with a means of working with the regional business community to achieve positive outcomes in regional economic, workforce and community development and strategic planning initiatives.

Examples in the statement of that work included:

  • providing a key contact for access to IPFW, Purdue and IU programs for business, government and community partnerships;
  • facilitating community access to higher-education resources;
  • providing representation for regional business in the development and enhancement of university programs; and
  • supporting strategic initiatives in the northeast Indiana region by providing university support and access to resources where needed.

“For more than 10 years, Indiana University has proudly partnered with Purdue University and the IPFW campus to support the operations of the Office of Engagement and its director,” Bill Stephan, the university’s engagement vice president, said in the statement.

It has done this “to ensure that northeast Indiana has direct access to the broader resources of our state’s two public research universities — all of which is designed to further strengthen the economic vitality of the region,” he said.

“This partnership has enhanced community and economic development and quality of life for the citizens of northeast Indiana through the combined effort of Indiana and Purdue faculty and staff,” Steve Abel, Purdue’s engagement associate provost, said in the statement.

The office, directed by Sean Ryan, has responded to more than 700 referrals to explore collaboration possibilities with employers in the region, and close to half of those cases have resulted in their meaningful engagement with a university partner.

Their engagements have involved everything from student hires and training programs to research activities and academic projects benefiting regional employers.

Groups working with the office have included Indiana Economic Development Corp., Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, WorkOne Northeast, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center and other economic development organizations such as local chambers of commerce.

Examples of key Engagement Office programs and outreach listed in the statement include:

  • IU Business Outlook Luncheon
  • Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition
  • Purdue Technical Assistance Program
  • Purdue IN-MaC projects with Purdue and IPFW Faculty
  • IPFW Student Academic Projects sponsored by industry
  • Congressman Stutzman and Congressman Banks job fairs held annually since 2011
  • Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association programs
  • Technical assistance and training through the Argast Family Imaging and Analysis Lab at IPFW
  • NSWC Crane — holds Partnership Intermediary Agreement and Educational Partnership Agreement.