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Wednesday, May 01 2019

City of South Bend and Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership receive Industry 4.0 Award for “Most Innovative Workforce Development Implementation”


The city of South Bend and Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership received an Industry 4.0 Award for “Most Innovative Workforce Development Implementation” for their joint project aimed at training incumbent workers from multiple South Bend manufacturing companies.

These participants received a Lean Practitioner Certificate and Lean Implementation Certification. The cost of the training was covered by grant funding from the City of South Bend’s Mayor’s Pathways On Demand Workforce Development Program.

"The biggest part of economic development has to do with investing in people. That’s only going to become more and more important, and that’s especially important when it comes to manufacturing.” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“Innovation is at the core of everything we do at the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership. We couldn’t be more pleased with winning the 2019 Industry 4.0 Consortium Innovation Award for “Most Innovative Workforce Development Implementation” alongside the city of South Bend, said Dave Snow, director of Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

South Bend Career Pathways was created to assist city residents eager to advance their employment prospects and income levels through career training programs. The program was expanded in 2018 to include on-demand programs for South Bend employers to take groups of employees and advance them within their organizations. The end results benefit both the company and its employees.

The Pathways On Demand grant has the principal responsibility to deliver on the city of South Bend’s Core Values of Excellence, Innovation, Inclusion, Empowerment and Accountability. Through this partnership with Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the program has been successful in staying true to such values.

The goal of this project was to provide South Bend residents with training to upskill and enhance their career path, and use those new skills to complete continuous improvement projects that result in dollarized impact for local companies. To implement this goal, Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership performed Lean Certificate Training and Lean Practitioner Implementation Certification.

The results of this project included cost savings, retained employees, increased/retained sales, new investment and cost avoidance.

Most training programs teach the fundamentals and techniques, but few require participants to put the knowledge into action. In Purdue MEP’s Lean Implementation Practitioner program, participants go from concept to implementation with results-driven projects, access to industry experts, and one-on-one project coaching. The ultimate goal of Purdue MEP’s training is to implement Lean at the participant’s companies, resulting in cost savings for those manufacturers.

“This award recognizes a creative approach to addressing the manufacturing industry’s workforce challenges. Purdue MEP greatly values our partnership with the city of South Bend, and we are excited for what this partnership brings in the years to come,” said Dietra Rosenkoetter, senior industry adviser with Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) provides high-value solutions to help Indiana businesses maximize their success. As advocates for Indiana's thousands of manufacturers, our staff identifies areas of improvement, streamlines processes, and ultimately increases competitiveness. Purdue MEP serves over 500 companies annually by implementing continuous improvement principles in the areas of productivity, growth, and technology.

If you would like more information about this topic, please email Ranae Stewart at


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