College to Partner With Industrial Modernization Center

Published 05.11.2006


Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Industrial Modernization Center have agreed to a partnership under which the college will provide management services for the IMC, a nonprofit, independent organization that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers in the region who want to be more innovative, productive, lean, competitive and profitable.

Under the terms of the agreement, which takes effect in January, the 16 current IMC staff members will become Penn College employees receiving the same benefits and services and subject to the same policies and procedures.

The IMC will move from its present location on Reach Road in Williamsport to the college's Center for Business and Workforce Development (the former BiLo property at 1127 W. Fourth St.) when that facility is completed. The college's Workforce Development & Continuing Education Office will also relocate to that facility.

"The management agreement with Penn College will provide IMC with critical administrative and personnel support, which will allow IMC to focus more on its mission to assist the region's small and medium-sized manufacturers," said James K. Shillenn, the IMC's executive director. "It will have the added benefit of providing IMC with a closer strategic relationship with the college, which will allow both organizations to pursue joint initiatives to support the region's businesses."

"It's going to open a lot of doors for us," Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said of the partnership. "It will broaden the college's reach and provide access to new sectors of business and industry. The IMC's objectives mesh well with the college's mission, and we look forward to having this excellent resource available on our campus."

The college has an array of manufacturing and technology-based academic programs that complement the IMC's capability to help businesses improve their manufacturing processes and adopt new technologies, Gilmour noted. In addition, Penn College and the IMC are both part of the Williamsport/Lycoming Keystone Innovation Zone, a state-designated area for the encouragement of innovative thinking, creativity and technology transfer through local partnerships and resources.

Gilmour said the college will incur no cost from the agreement, which is for a period of three years and may be renewed. Though IMC staff will become Penn College employees, the college will be reimbursed by the IMC for compensation and benefits. The college will also receive a management-services fee.

Shillenn said the IMC's move to the new Center for Business and Workforce Development facility makes good sense.

"The Center for Business and Workforce Development is an ideal location for IMC," he said. "We will be in the same facility as other Penn College business- and workforce-outreach activities and be part of a campus community which has a shared vision for the importance of technical education."

The IMC staff includes four people who work from offices in State College and Altoona. They will also become Penn College employees and continue to work at those locations. The IMC serves manufacturing and technology businesses in Bedford, Blair, Centre, Clinton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.

"We serve 12 counties in Pennsylvania, and we need to be close to our customers, so we have offices at Innovation Park at Penn State and a satellite office in Altoona in addition to our Williamsport location," Shillenn said.

Established in 1988, the IMC is one of seven centers in the state certified under the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Partnership Act. It is an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and is supported through the state Department of Community and Economic Development.