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Section I: General Grant Information A. Grant information Grantee Name: Purdue University via the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Name of Project: North Central Indiana (NCI) WIRED Network Agreement #: WIRED-5-59 CFDA#: 17.261 Quarterly Reporting Period: January 1 – March 31, 2009 Date: Contact Persons: Scott Hutcheson Purdue University email@example.com (765) 494-4277 Ed Morrison Policy Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org (216) 650-7267 Peggy Hosea Purdue University email@example.com (765) 236-0955
B. Summary of General Grant Activities As our region, our state and our country face financial uncertainty and dramatic increases in unemployment, the NCI WIRED region finds itself with an unmistakable advantage that stemmed from the WIRED grant. Our ability to react quickly to change, to pull together key civic leaders to address current issues and to develop action plans has been significantly improved by the activities of the past three years. The dense network of committed individuals and organizations created in the region has positioned our efforts for rapid turn-around and increased efficiency. Whether reviewing programs such as the Inventrek Skunk Works (a concept in September 2008 and an
actuality in Q1 2009) or the formation of a team committed to re-engage and re-direct the workforce, the NCI region has exhibited a swiftness to take action that many other communities lack. Understanding the need for actionable workforce data and information, NCI had already undertaken a complete study prior to the worst of the economic downturn. That report, now nearing completion, will have real-time relevant data that has been constructed to help guidance counselors and educators better comprehend the needs of employers and how to modify curricula to meet those needs. Communities will also find this report invaluable to assess the state of the workforce in their area, identify gaps and create action plans. Throughout this report, you‟ll find examples of the payoff now being seen from the WIRED efforts. Current programs continue to yield measured outcomes. And with diligent evaluation of the investment portfolio and reallocation of our financial commitments, programs that have been in queue are in final stages of development. New programs stretch the reach of our boundaries and will provide unique learning opportunities for our workforce. As the WIRED banner gradually descends throughout 2009, the Regional Leadership Institute is gaining recognition and is positioned to continue the role of an active Civic group that will address key issues.
C. Status Update on Strategic Partnership Activities Partnership updates follow: Business Innovation
Energy Systems Network:
The Energy Systems Network (ESN) is a partnership of private firms, research institutions and public agencies focused on bringing new energy technologies to market, leveraging Indiana‟s strong manufacturing sector, R&D capabilities, and heritage of engineering advanced energy systems. (Read more about Governor Daniel‟s announcement here.) Paul Mitchell, former policy advisor to Governor Daniels (and previous WIRED lead at the state level), now serves as President and CEO of the ESN. To maintain and strengthen the connections between the WIRED region (an early partner) and the state‟s Energy movement, IESN hosted a fireside chat in West Lafayette on March 11th. Prospective entrepreneurs and businesses within the emerging alternative energy and electric and hybrid electric vehicle markets were invited to participate in this skill-building event.
Those in attendance learned about successfully launching and running “energy-related” businesses in the current highly volatile market. John Waters, President/CEO of Bright Automotive, appointed by Governor Daniels as Indiana‟s Energy Entrepreneur in Residence, discussed key challenges in the electric and hybrid electric vehicle arena; Mike Hudson, CEO of I Power Energy Systems, addressed distributed power as well as the ability to leverage distributed sources of bio-gas for power production; Scott Prince with EnerTech – Heartland Energy Fund provided information about the dramatically evolving ability to tap capital markets for energy firms. With concentrated work needed in this emerging field, activities of the strong leadership at ESN will prove beneficial to the NCI region in multiple ways.
Industrial Energy Efficiency:
As more employees are trained in the skills of maximizing Energy Efficiency, the significant ROI of this training is noted and NCI companies are spreading the word. During the 1st quarter, two additional companies have committed their employees to the training program bringing the total # of companies to 26 with 317 worker-days of time invested. The return on that investment now exceeds $2M per year in terms of the energy savings resulting from the participants‟ new skills. A new module has been created for individuals who do not deal with the technical aspects of energy-intensive equipment such as boilers and compressors, but who are involved in financial decisions affecting them. The new module is entitled „Incorporating Energy Efficiency into Financial Decision Making‟ and incorporates several activities to engage attendees. Early feedback was very positive and additional sessions are planned. Success of the program is being touted in various media such as INside Edge, BizVoice and GreenBiz.com. Read the GreenBiz article here.
Green Worker Certification:
The first delivery of the Green Generalist (G101) training was conducted at Drug Plastics, Inc. in Oxford, Indiana, with fourteen managers and supervisors participating. The Company was sufficiently impressed to prepare a written endorsement of the training and has expressed their intent to send
employees to the Specialist training. To seek continued input about the material that has been developed and evaluate the applicability, the Indiana Offices of Energy Development and Environmental Management were invited to attend two public forums held at Purdue Research Park. Employees from companies participating in other TAP programs have also participated and provided feedback. Six modules of the Specialist training are now complete. The newest module „Material Management and Solid Waste‟ features a “dumpster-diving” waste sorting activity that has recently been popularized by local zero-Landfill company Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA). SME certificate assessment is on schedule. To date they have interviewed numerous individuals who are actively engaged in greening their company, and have completed their validation of the Body of Knowledge assembled by the Purdue team. A survey will be developed to send to sustainable business experts in Q2 which will measure the importance of each part of the BoK to being an effective „green‟ worker. This information will be used to apportion content of the final certificate exam. The term „Green Worker‟ is becoming a common term, but a true definition has been lacking. The SME certification will go a long way in filling that gap. Purdue TAP‟s efforts in this area are becoming widely known and interest has been expressed by several organizations including WIRED regions in Kansas, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont. Discussions have also been held with the third-party administrator of the Green Supplier Network for NIST MEP.
To verify and expand the Hispanic version of the Healthy Workforce training, employees for one company have been recruited to participate and provide feedback. In addition, the possibility of working with an auto manufacturer in Kokomo is being pursued. Fee-forservice offerings are being created to sustain the program after WIRED investments are complete. To date, the Healthy Workforce program has nine active manufacturing partners. The value of the program is verified by the 100% implementation rate after the assessments and recommendations were made. As another testament to the value, all of the companies implemented the training using some portion of company time, in some cases 100%. Changes that were made to the working environment will increase the
skills and productivity of workers not only by reducing down time but by actually increasing efficiency. Human resources issues and costs are also reduced. Partnership updates follow: Developing 21st Century Talent
New Tech High
Prior to the transformation of Zebra New Tech High in Rochester, IN, the school had faced not only less-than-desirable test scores but also experienced declining attendance and a steady issue of disciplinary problems. Now when asked to name the single change that has had the most impact on the school, Superintendent Dr. Deb Howe is quick to respond „student engagement’. In fact, she states that „student engagement has exploded‟ creating a positive culture for learning and impacting all three areas noted above. Students are more accountable, attendance rates have increased significantly as have test scores. Grade Ten students‟ Math scores have jumped from 69% to 73.5% and Language Arts from 69.1% to 74.8%. The percentage of students passing both Math and Language Arts has risen from 61.2 % to 67.3%. The engagement of students has also resulted in a reduction in the number of suspensions and expulsions by more than 50%. All of these facts point to the validity of Zebra New Tech High‟s belief that R X R X R = Student Success. The „R‟s‟ in the equation represent Relationship, Relevance and Rigor. Strong student-teacher Relationships with Relevance of work to the topic and Rigor (depth of the topic) is the way to increase student achievement. Based on the continued success seen in Rochester, the equation works. To date, over 300 principals and administrators have toured NTH and ten additional tours will be scheduled before year end. Additionally NTH Rochester has been selected as a training site for New Tech Schools in Indiana and nationally. Recognizing the need for workforce retraining, plans are underway to create a Community Learning Center that will serve adults as well as high school students. The Center will have vocational, dual college credit, and credentialing courses offered.
Partnership updates follow: Encouraging Entrepreneurship One of the four strategic initiatives adopted by NCI WIRED was to develop a culture of entrepreneurship throughout our region. Recognizing the opportunity to train
entrepreneurship skills and create curriculum that provides a lasting impact on the learners was the goal of multiple programs.
Doubling ‘E’ at IUK
Addressing the need to incorporate much stronger business formation elements into various college classes, Indiana University Kokomo embedded entrepreneurship into four majors and now has 144 students who have received the enhanced education, well on their way to literally doubling the original number.
Classroom Business Enterprise
Impacting the future workforce is the Classroom Business Enterprise training that has been completed by 50 teachers who are incorporating what they have learned into their own classrooms. Business plans, profit, loss, human resources, and many more economic terms are becoming familiar topics as teachers help their learners experience being entrepreneurs first-hand. Based on the success of the fifty teachers already trained, an additional 50 teachers will be trained in 2009. Those 100 teachers are reaching large numbers of learners to help them „make a job‟ as they enter the workforce.
Entrepreneurship Academy at Kokomo Area Career Center
One of several programs designed to reach individuals entering the workforce is the curriculum created at the Kokomo Area Career Center. Learners now have the opportunity to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, the rewards and risks of going into business for yourself and the background, characteristics, and skills of successful entrepreneurs. This curriculum is being shared with other Career Centers in the region. To date approximately 100 learners have gone through this Academy.
Entrepreneurship Talent Development Network
Continuing to gain momentum with each passing month, the sixteen Entrepreneurs engaged in this peer network program are developing skills to increase their knowledge of business management. WIRED partner SBDC formed the group, known as Echelon, and works with each business owner to evaluate their current level of knowledge. The curriculum then creates a stepped effect as they collectively climb towards more successful business practices.
Two members giving Echelon excellent reviews are Andy Baker and Mark Koors, owners of AndyMark, Inc. The focus of AndyMark is to design, invent, and sell components for robotics and mobility applications and the two have steadily built their business using their combined 45 years of engineering experience. Despite forming their company in 2004, they have valued the opportunity to participate in the Echelon sessions and comment that the program has been extremely helpful.
Transformation of the traditional workforce system is underway in the United States and that is certainly true in Kokomo, IN. A new and innovative strategy to further develop skills and job opportunities for dislocated engineers from the changing landscape of the auto industry is positioning these displaced workers for success in a different environment. The „Skunk Works‟ is on-track to providing alternative means of employment through a multi- pronged approach. During a „triage‟ process, WIRED partner Inventrek Technology Park works directly with engineers and engages them in a course of action that capitalizes on their experience and assesses their future learning and employment needs. The approaches include: 1. Development of job opportunities in new businesses formed through IP developed by the engineers, or in some cases Delphi Electronics, by providing extensive training, process and facilities to encourage entrepreneurship. 2. Linking entrepreneurs with business development specialists and Angel Investors. . 3. Use of a process developed by WIRED funding, Innovations Link, to seek out opportunities developed by Purdue and made available in the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. 4. Registering the dislocated workers in a database allowing them to be connected with firms nation-wide and internationally that need engineering services but do not keep engineers on their payroll.
Intensive efforts have been required to identify and connect with the dislocated workers due to confidentiality issues for Delphi and their outplacement service. In addition to traditional methods of reaching out, new technology such as social networking websites such as FaceBook has played a big part in this process.
Innovations in Top Line Growth
Companies with employees who are forward thinking and continually seeking new products and services to offer their customers are much better positioned to handle the challenges of sustained business viability. Helping organizations to develop their workforces‟ ability to strategically focus on such new ideas is the domain of Purdue Technical Assistance Program‟s partnership with the Eureka Ranch Winning Ways program. In the NCI region, facilitator Rich Meyer has successfully led ten employee teams through the process with more than 645 growth ideas created. Four specific companies have reported on progress to date. In addition to the new skills developed, 8 new jobs have been created and 38 current jobs have been retained. Significant cost savings and projected sales have also been recorded. The NIST/MEP network and Eureka! Ranch have asked Rich to join a select group of Eureka trainers to preview and provide feedback on new Eureka! Ranch products. More information about the impact of this program can be found in the Successes portion of this report. Partnership updates follow: Civic Leadership
Hoosier Heartland Regional Leadership Institute
Building on the listening sessions that were held in every county and the book reading group discussion groups that followed, the Regional Leadership Institute had a very active quarter as they traveled to three locations that have innovative regional initiatives. Best practice trips were taken to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to meet with leaders of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, Greensboro, North Carolina, home of the Piedmont Triad Partnership and Covington, Kentucky, where Vision 2015 is housed. Each trip was well planned, allowing an inside look at how other areas engage in regional and leadership development. Meeting with elected officials, business and industry partners and economic development officials, the teams returned to Indiana energized and ready to take action. The membership of the Institute has continued to grow with a total of 68 individuals are now taking part. The group activities have helped to cement their emerging partnerships and anticipation is building for the May 7th & 8th event that will bring them all together again.
The spring event will lead the participants through a visioning process where they will determine the mission, vision and goals of the Institute prioritize projects and ready themselves for action. See the visit to the Piedmont Triad here, the Michigan trip here and the Kentucky trip here. To learn about the book the group read which outlines the challenges facing the Midwest (Caught in the Middle by Richard Longworth), visit this link. Multiple Partner Activities: WIRED has played a key role in convening the right audience for the right message. As an example, when the CEAP (Community Economic Adjustment Program, a unit of the EDA University Center) program was announced and the University of Michigan needed to hold focus meetings, they turned to WIRED. We were able to form a meaningful interaction with the team that could benefit most from CEAP program offerings. Another example is the multi-organizational efforts in Howard County to address the need to keep dislocated workers engaged. By determining their training needs and related issues, the community will find new and different ways to reach out to the workers and their families. Spurred by a state-wide effort from PCRD (Scott Hutcheson and Ed Morrison), the group formed and has quickly become an action-oriented asset to the area. Overnight, WIRED was able to get an informative website up and running, maintained with the most current information. The Chancellor of Indiana University at Kokomo and our Workforce Development Partner will co-chair this endeavor with WIRED assistance. Kokomo has recently gone through a difficult but necessary reorganization of the multiple entities that had been involved in economic development activities. The formation of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance is explained here. Ed Morrison and WIRED staff have been instrumental in facilitating this challenging task.
D. Status Update on Leveraged Resources (Attachment: NCI WIRED Leveraged Resources 3.31.09) NCI Partners have reported gains in leverage dollars this quarter for a cumulative total over $16,000,000. Through a review of the leverage funds as reported by WIRED subcontractors with Indiana Department of Labor, it is noted that only a portion of those funds will be reported on the matched funds document to the state though all reported leverage supports WIRED goals and is identified on the enclosure.
Section II: Regional Metrics (Attachment: NCI WIRED Summary Metrics 3.31.09) The number of individuals impacted by WIRED has continued to climb, far exceeding the goals in each of the target measurements. Over 15,000 individuals have participated in the training efforts, 7,600 have completed training with 1,198 of those resulting in a degree or certificate. Over 3,500 workers have been placed to date. Complete details of these measurements and other accomplishments that have been tracked can be reviewed on the NCI WIRED Summary Metrics for the quarter ended March 31s, 2009.
Section III: Challenges to Progress Without a doubt the most significant challenge to emerge this quarter is the severity of the economic downturn. Three years ago, when we began our WIRED effort, we would not have predicted this economic situation, especially in Indiana which was faring better than most other Midwestern states. The good news, as articulated in this report, is that the civic habits we‟ve cultivated during the WIRED effort has helped North Central Indiana react much more quickly than we otherwise would have. Although no amount of regional collaboration can counteract the impact of a global economic crisis, we have been more resilient and agile in our response. Another challenge that emerged this quarter is the reduction in staff supporting the WIRED effort. Not only did WIRED‟s Project Administrator complete his assignment, but other key supporting partners ended their contractual obligations to WIRED. There was some concern that these partners would disengage but that has proved to be an unfounded concern. The network of workforce, economic, and higher education professionals who have helped lead the effort, continues to lead the effort even now when some are not contractually obligated to do so. This is another testament to WIRED‟s commitment to sustainability.
Section IV: Promising Innovation Processes and Success Stories (Attachment: NCI WIRED Success Story PowerPoint 3.31.09) A. Promising Approaches, Processes, and Lessons Learned By building capacity within existing organizations, the WIRED grant has been administered by a remarkably lean team of individuals. This has proven to be a very effective means of engaging experienced professionals and ensuring a rich diversity of thought. Note that in Q1 of 2009, Mark Smith, Project Administrator, completed his assignment. Project management responsibilities have been assumed by existing staff.
Efficient processes put in place for tracking the operational issues of the WIRED grant have permitted this reduction in personnel. In response to the lay-offs of auto workers, Purdue recently announced a new program at the Kokomo campus of the College of Technology that would allow students to receive a 4 year degree in 2 years by making the program their full time job. Again, students would be able to continue receiving unemployment compensation and the classes would be paid for with TAA grant funds. The concept was quickly developed and classes are scheduled to begin in August with 25 students. Wind Energy has made a positive impact on many areas in the NCI region with announcements and progress reports seen daily in local news. A recent groundbreaking in White County was reported here and the first phase of the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County is fully operational. Read More or Watch as Inside INdiana Business took an in depth look at the state's emerging wind power industry shortly after construction on the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm started last year. With the advent of more wind turbines in the area, skilled workers will be need for operation, maintenance and repair in addition to manufacturing capacity. Job fairs and forums are being held in the Midwest that will be attended by many from the NCI region to determine how best to align our educational resources and workforce planning. Examples of two pending activities are below.
The WINDPOWER 2009 Job Fair, May 5 - May 7, connects top wind energy companies with job seekers of all experience levels and also includes the Careers in Wind Seminar, with presentations by leading industry professionals about the varied career opportunities in wind energy. Job seekers are encouraged to sign up and post their resumes at www.careersinwind.com.
B. Sharing Success Stories A Company ready to grow: A company that stamps metal pieces for furniture and construction is not joining other similar companies in singing the blues about economic troubles. The B. Walter & Company of Wabash, Indiana, undertook the Eureka! Winning Ways program in early 2008 with one of their product ideas resulting in a new product to sell to furniture makers. The company has now hired an engineering firm, completed a full design of the product, and is beginning the process of selling the product.
While many of B Walter‟s competitors are losing business with no prospects of immediate improvement, Art Jasen, President of the company, is singing a different tune. They‟ve got a new product in the pipeline that is different than anything they‟ve done before. He expressed that it was nice to be in a position to be proactive when most companies are cutting back on growth projects. Sustaining WIRED programs: Throughout this report there have been references to the way our program partners plan to sustain their training efforts after WIRED funding is no longer available. One outstanding example is the Entrepreneurship Academy program which has received much acclaim for their work in teaching entrepreneurship principles to an unlikely audience: students who are very strong in the STEM disciplines. The Academy was launched in 2007 and was supported almost entirely by WIRED. In the second year, WIRED‟s funding commitment remained the same but additional support allowed the program to expand. The 2009 Academy will continue the expansion but will be funded entirely through corporate sponsorships. This sustainability plan was built into the original funding request and reiterated through the many reviews. More about the Academy can be found here.
Creating Career Opportunities in Energy: For the past two years, White, Carroll, Clinton and Tippecanoe counties have successfully facilitated the WIRED Clean Energy Forum. During that time, local economic development organization representatives assisted in the development of Biotown, USA; planned and delivered Clean Energy Forums in two counties; visited the National Renewable Energy Lab in Denver, Colorado, and facilitated monthly meetings of Forum members. Building on the accomplishments of the Forum, a proposal was just approved that will support the creation of new jobs and career opportunities in Clean Energy Industries by driving regional energy initiatives. The newly created position of Regional Director of Renewable Energy Initiatives will increase adoption of existing energy programs and promote innovation of next-generation solutions for regional economic growth including skill analysis and training needs. Attachments:
NCI WIRED Investment Portfolio and Projections 3.31.09 NCI WIRED Leveraged Resources 3.31.09 NCI WIRED Outcomes Chart 3.31.09 NCI WIRED Success Story PowerPoint 3.31.09 NCI WIRED Summary Metrics 3.31.09
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