Early in 2016, Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) launched a comprehensive training program designed to standardize the way Iowa companies learn about government contracting. In April, the program received national recognition during the spring conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC)
CIRAS, which is part of the College of Engineering and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations at Iowa State, was founded in 1963 to help businesses and their communities prosper. CIRAS helps companies improve their productivity, boost their stable of enterprise leadership, embrace new technology and achieve growth. One way that takes place is by helping businesses market products and services to the federal, state and local governments.
In 2015, CIRAS’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) recognized the need to have standard training available to all companies in the state, while also eliminating the need for these organizations to travel long distances to access an event not offered locally. The program provides extensive training through a variety of options, including in-person sessions, live webinars, and on-demand presentations. Each workshop includes elements and information that are valuable for any industry and experience level.
CIRAS PTAP hosts 74 events throughout the year plus individual events catered to the requested needs of the client. Generally, the events are organized into five categories: getting started, finding and understanding opportunities, market research, contracts/compliance/culture, and vendor networking events.
The thorough, thoughtful, systematic approach to providing small business training that CIRAS developed earned the group APTAC’s 2016 Outstanding Project Award. The award recognizes an accomplishment that stands out from the usual activities that all PTACs organize and undertake. The award is given to projects that benefit all APTAC members and/or serve as a model for other PTACs to emulate.