The Switzerland County Technology and Education Center has served as an adult education facility and community center since its creation in 2012. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the TEC Center began serving entrepreneurs and remote workers needing office/meeting space and internet connectivity. In spite of the space being limited in amenities and offering no support services, strong demand for this offering has continued. This project will help adapt the facility and enable programming to further support these entrepreneurs and remote workers.
The TEC Center was recently selected by Purdue University as a location for their Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) Design and Innovation Studio. This will allow both entrepreneurs and students to access new technology in their own community and benefit from IN-MaC’s wide range of resources.
Our primary outcome with this initiative is to make the facility a regional magnet for entrepreneurs and remote workers by offering much more than just space and internet. We want to offer a business and professional community with a full complement of tools, training and ongoing interaction. In spite of being a small community, Switzerland County believes that this support for or regional business ecosystem can be cost-effectively sustained by co-locating it with adult education/workforce training resources already in place. Work under the project includes:
• Adaptation of existing space to accommodate Purdue IN-MaC Design and Innovation Studio (awarded October 2022). This new studio will further the training, innovation, and entrepreneurship goals of the facility.
• Improvements to the facility’s access system to allow for expanded and more flexible use.
• Ongoing programming targeted to entrepreneurs and local businesses.
• Modification of existing educational resources to allow service for both students and businesses.
• A full offering of modern office and communication equipment, including computers, video conference, and ecommerce resources.
• Available local meeting space for the Indiana Small Business Development Center and other support partners.
• Adjustments in space and scheduling to make common areas more usable for new guests.
• Targeted marketing of new opportunities within the community and beyond.
An online presence for the program to make information consistently available to those not regularly at the facility.