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Rose-Hulman and Shelby County Join Forces on Economic Development and Educational Initiative

October 4, 2012

by Dale Long

New vistas open up for Shelbyville student - getting an early start in
engineering through Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult summer program for
high school juniors.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has announced a partnership with Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville to initiate an economic development model that will assist in the creation of home-grown entrepreneurial talent, educate future innovators, and attract manufacturing- and technology-based businesses.

City and county officials recently approved $186,000 to support the Innovative Model: Positioning Communities for Transformation (IMPaCT 2016) program, beginning this fall. Goals are to help attract talent and business to Shelby County, while partnering with the expertise of Rose-Hulman, the undergraduate education institution that specializes in engineering, science, and mathematics.

"The City of Shelbyville is excited about this innovative economic development collaboration that bridges the gap between industry and education," stated Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun. "This partnership will allow our youth to be exposed to the educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the nation's number one engineering school. At the same time, it will allow our businesses to tap into the expertise of some of the best engineering minds in the state."

Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons added, "The challenges facing communities and academia require solutions that blend technological and problem-solving know-how with entrepreneurial resourcefulness and responsiveness. It is in this spirit that Rose-Hulman, Shelby County, and the City of Shelbyville have become partners. Our students and faculty embrace real-world challenges while assisting our state."

IMPaCT 2016 components include increasing the number of Shelby County students acquiring the skills necessary to achieve STEM-related college degrees. Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult summer campus program will expose Shelby County high-school students who have completed their junior year to engineering and applied science through project work. Meanwhile, the EMERGE tele-mentoring program will connect Rose-Hulman students with Shelby County ninth-grade students to enhance career awareness and academic achievement.

The Shelby County Entrepreneurial Internship Program will inspire innovation and economic development, positioning Shelby County as an attractive location to work and live. This program will offer opportunities for Rose-Hulman students to gain industrial experience and continue developing their professional skills.

"Development of an educated workforce is a key strategic goal to help grow the Shelby County economy," said Chris King, past-president of the Shelby County Development Corporation. "Our partnership with Rose-Hulman holds great promise to help our young people realize opportunities in STEM related careers, provide assistance for their development, and support local companies in hiring incredible engineering talent."

Other aspects of the program will establish an entrepreneurial network that connects Shelby County industry, academic, and government leadership with Rose-Hulman alumni, faculty, leadership, students, staff, and supporters. These resource-sharing relationships will promote innovation in education and economic development.

Project managers and student interns at Rose-Hulman Ventures will help Shelby County companies solve technology challenges in the innovation-stage of development. This innovation-based economic partnership will launch the next generation of technical leaders for success throughout the county, and allow Rose-Hulman to provide continuing and professional studies programs at the Intelliplex in Shelbyville.

 "Our partnership with Rose-Hulman has the potential to be a game-changer for Shelby County and the community's ability to retain, grow, and attract manufacturing- and technology-based companies," states King, a Shelby County native who is a 2002 Rose-Hulman civil engineering graduate.

Learn more about IMPaCT 2016.