Research Foundation News

September 28, 2017

Purdue@WestGate selected as launch site for innovative workforce facilitator program

Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan Purdue Polytechnic has chosen Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan to lead the CareerMaker program at WestGate.
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ODON, Ind., CRANE, Ind. and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Polytechnic Institute plans to make WestGate@Crane Technology Park the first of several CareerMaker™ sites throughout Indiana aimed at connecting businesses with the tools needed for success.   

Because of the high potential for economic growth in southern Indiana, Purdue Polytechnic has chosen WestGate to serve as the launch site for its CareerMaker program.  CareerMaker is a workforce development facilitator to help businesses develop and maintain the workforces they need. The program offers consultation, assessments, education, workshops, trainings and bridges to other resources that give businesses a competitive edge.

“The CareerMaker program is unique because the needs of the business determine the direction of the program,” said Geanie Umberger, associate dean for engagement at Purdue Polytechnic Institute. “First, we listen and learn about strengths and areas for improvement, then we partner with businesses to help them acquire the tools and resources they need.”

Umberger believes the key to long-term success is re-creational education.

“Regardless of the degree a student attains, it is important to continue their education and stay apprised of changes and advancements in any field. That is why our focus is re-creational education, helping employers and employees acquire the skills to re-create themselves as needed. CareerMaker is more than a training resource. It is a workforce development facilitator that helps businesses develop skills and resources they need to adapt for the future.” 

Purdue Polytechnic has chosen Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan to lead the CareerMaker program at WestGate. Gonzalez-Gaboyan previously served as business development and outreach manager at Purdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation. She has expertise in developing and executing strategic plans for engagement and acting as a liaison between collaborators on projects involving advanced technologies for workforce education and engineering.

“Industry is looking to academia to respond to its needs, “said Gonzalez-Gaboyan, associate director for workforce development at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, “and Purdue Polytechnic has its finger on the pulse of industry. With the resources of the Polytechnic, CareerMaker is equipped to meet the needs of southern Indiana industries so that they can employ the people who live right here in our neighborhood.”

Umberger feels that one of the greatest strengths of the program is its ability to re-create itself as it connects with the needs of the businesses and the region.

“As we move forward, we will evaluate our program performance by assessing metrics and tracking the number of people and businesses impacted,” Umberger said. “In the long term, we will look at our return on investments and continually re-create the program to keep it custom-tailored to the needs of the businesses and the region.”

“The state of Indiana already has competitive manufacturing numbers. We just need to push forward and keep that momentum going,” Gonzalez-Gaboyan said. “All of the ingredients for success are part of the mix at WestGate including an available workforce, talented entrepreneurs, strong startup resources and economic development experts.”

The program is just one of several offered through Purdue@WestGate. Purdue Foundry, the award-winning startup accelerator program, already has provided entrepreneurial networking events like the Foundry Grounds, a weekly gathering where entrepreneurs present information about their startups, and Spirited Entrepreneur, an informal monthly gathering for entrepreneurs, investors, civic leaders and economic development leaders.

The Purdue Foundry’s Firestarter offers entrepreneurs with expert advice on startup creations from business plans to marketing research. Two entrepreneurs in residence also are available at the location to provide individual guidance and support for start founders.

Purdue Krannert School of Management will launch an NSF Midwest I-Corps™ Node program at WestGate in early 2018. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovation Corps., I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university faculty and graduate student entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and provides entrepreneurship training to participants.

For more information about CareerMaker, contact Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan, 219-746-0304 or gaboyand@purdue.edu. For more information about Purdue@WestGate, contact Jason Salstrom, director of programs and activities for Purdue@WestGate, 812-483-0935, jdsalstrom@prf.org

About Purdue@WestGate

Purdue@WestGate is an economic development accelerator formed by the partnership between WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation. The Indiana-based collaboration combines strengths to advance educational, research and development and technology commercialization across Indiana and elsewhere. Purdue@WestGate offers tools for startups, entrepreneurial experts, programs, educational opportunities and workforce development to help southern Indiana businesses grow and thrive. For more information about the resources available to businesses, visit Purdue@WestGate. 

Writer: Lyna Landis, 765-588-3575, lklandis@prf.org

Sources: Geanie Umberger, gumberger@purdue.edu 

Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan, gaboyand@purdue.edu  


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