Boise State University
The South Idaho Design-Prototype Center: A Catalyst for Workforce & New Product Development scales up a long-standing collaboration that since 2001 has fueled workforce development, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. We build upon the discovery that our primarily student-run New Product Development (NPD) Lab has not only demonstrated product feasibility for scores of clients but has also brought prized workplace-ready employees into regional entrepreneurial and advanced manufacturing companies. The proposed program will expand a proven model and double economic impact to a $73M annualized increase in industry-combined sales, savings, and investment. We will double Idaho jobs created and retained to 260 annually, while ensuring 25% rural representation. TechHelp, a center at Boise State University, will lead. It operates as Idaho’s EDA University and NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers. Expansion will provide a much needed talent pipeline to Idaho industry, and a career on-ramp to part-time student employees who manage Center projects and operations alongside engineering professionals and entrepreneurs. Students have not only been securing full-time employment upon graduation but are also demonstrating critical influence in building regional and national entrepreneurial companies. We will partner with industry to train students to move real-world projects from concept through designing, prototyping, and testing. We will combine resources of the TechHelp NPD Lab and the College of Engineering’s Engineering Innovation Studio and expand recruitment to engage rural students and companies as well as first generation and Idaho vocational technology college students in a vibrant, newly renovated space. The team is pursuing the Venture Challenge Scale Track.