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PENNTAP clients report $17 million in benefits
By Laura Tetrault
| Clients of Penn States Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PENNTAP) reported 715 jobs created or retained and $17 million in economic benefits received throughout the Commonwealth in calendar year 2002.|
According to PENNTAPs year-end report, the program provided an overall total of 770 cases of technical assistance to 670 Pennsylvania businesses in all 67 counties. Economic benefits included cost savings, sales and capital investments as a result of PENNTAP assistance.
Nearly half of the businesses served and 70 percent of the economic benefits reported were in counties designated by the U.S. Economic Development Administration as economically distressed.
PENNTAP is a statewide network of technical specialists. The program helps Pennsylvania businesses improve their competitiveness by providing free technical assistance and information to help resolve specific technical questions or needs that can be addressed within a limited amount of time.
Jack Gido, PENNTAP director, said, We focus on helping smaller businesses that normally do not have the in-house expertise or time to resolve specific technical questions or needs. Last year, 77 percent of PENNTAPs clients were businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
PENNTAPs network includes specialists in e-business, environmental concerns, plastics, NASA technology, product development, safety, wood processing and technical information, as well as other areas.
In 2002, PENNTAPs e-business Technical Assistance Program, e-TAP, completed 340 cases of technical assistance and provided $6.8 million in economic benefitsthe largest portion of the overall program totals. E-TAP, a partnership with Team PA, receives support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to help small businesses with their Internet, Web site and information technology needs.
PENNTAPs newest undertaking, a statewide food processing industry assistance service, completed 45 cases of technical assistance and provided $2.3 million in economic benefits. The food processing assistance service helps businesses address needs related to food chemistry, food safety, shelf life, quality control, process improvements, packaging, labeling, regulations and sanitation.
Serving Pennsylvania business and industry since 1965, PENNTAP is a federal-state-university partnership for economic development and one of the nations first technical assistance programs.
For more information about PENNTAP, visit the Web site at http://www.penntap.psu.edu or call 814-865-0427.
PENNTAP wins national award for technology assistance
| Penn States Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program has won national recognition for helping Harman Stove of Halifax, Pa., initiate a cost-effective modification of their coatings operations to be compliant with state air-quality regulations.|
Harman Stove reported economic benefits from the PENNTAP assistance totaling several hundred thousand dollars, including 25 person-days saved. The company also reported 80 jobs were saved and the plant was kept open to satisfy customers needs with durable, attractive wood and coal stoves.
The project was selected as an Outstanding Project of the Year in the technology assistance category in the National Association of Management and Technical Assistance Centers (NAMTAC) awards competition. The award, a plaque, was presented at the NAMTAC awards banquet in Asheville, N.C. NAMTAC is a nonprofit association that provides information and a forum to enhance the performance of organizations providing business, economic development and technical assistance to businesses and communities.
Warren Weaver, PENNTAP senior technical specialist, led the project. This is the fifth NAMTAC award Weaver has won.
Harman Stoves supplier could not supply them with a high-gloss, low-solvent content coating for their wood and coal stoves without using a non-ozone forming exempt solvent that had potential health and safety risks, Weaver said. Others in their industry would soon be facing the same restrictions, creating an industry problem, not just a company problem.
Weaver worked with Harman Stoves plant manager to understand the companys options and to help identify a solution. He facilitated a meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulators and then identified potential solution providers. He also assisted Harman Stove to obtain an Air-quality Plan Approval.