The board of directors at Warsaw’s OrthoWorx is committing nearly $500,000 to fund efforts to attract and retain college and university students in northern Indiana and build stronger connections between industry and universities. Warsaw is a hub of orthopedic manufacturers.
"The orthopedic industry and the northern Indiana region are in a worldwide competition for talent," said Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx CEO and president.
"Indiana colleges and universities produce excellent graduates, but many leave the state to build their careers," she said.
The program is aimed at studies that will lead to civic improvements as well as expanding student internships and faculty externships in the orthopedic industry, among other goals, OrthoWorx spokesman Brad Bishop said.
"Those of us in academia have had a long-standing interest in working more closely with the orthopedic industry, but for a variety of reasons, the connections have been more episodic than ongoing," said Bob Bernhard, vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame and co-chair of the OrthoWorx University-Industry Advisory Board.
The study will pinpoint the relationships between the orthopedic industry in northern Indiana and nine institutions of higher education: Indiana University, Purdue University, IPFW, University of Notre Dame, Ball State University, Manchester University, Ivy Tech Community College, Trine University and Grace College.
"Academic research in the field of orthopedic medicine developed early on in Europe and on the East Coast of the U.S.," said Randy Kilburn, vice president North American Marketing, DePuy Synthes Cos. and UIAB industry co-chair.
"Consequently, the links between our industry and Indiana higher education have never been as strong as they could be."
Ryan Twiss, executive director for the Big Goal Collaborative, an arm of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, a business and education group, said the organization’s College to Career Action Team was aware that OrthoWorx would be starting this initiative.
"OrthoWorx is a strong partner of our Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership," Twiss said in a statement.
"One of our target industries is medical devices. We are fully supportive of experiential learning for students coming out of post-secondary institutions," he said.