The Iowa Plastics Industry Consortium, faced with a funding shortfall, is eliminating its full-time staff director but has found a partner to continue its mold-builder training program and hopes to run its other programs as a volunteer association.
IPIC met with several potential partners Feb. 2 but ultimately decided not to merge completely into one of them or create a formal alliance, said Flora Schmidt, executive director of the Manchester-based group.
The group has enough money in the bank, and with additional funding from companies and help from other trade groups, expects to continue its annual Plastics Day legislative events and training seminars, she said.
"Our board felt that maybe they could continue as a volunteer-led group," Schmidt said. "They didn't want to lose their identity."
Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids will take over IPIC's mold-builder training program. Participating companies will pay an administrative fee to the college so it can hire a part-time coordinator, Schmidt said.
She said the group will work with the American Plastics Council of Arlington, Va., and Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington for its Plastics Days, and with other agencies on seminars and short-term training programs. Its next Plastics Day is Feb. 13 in Des Moines.
IPIC met with Kirkwood and three other groups — SPI, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and Enterprise Iowa — about forming a partnership. But after reaching an agreement with Kirkwood, the group decided to continue the rest of its activities on its own, Schmidt said.
Schmidt, who is the group's only full-time employee, will remain until March 31. Kirkwood takes over running the mold-builder program April 1. IPIC has not signed its agreement with Kirkwood but expects to soon, she said.
IPIC has said it did not have a large enough membership base, and it has seen its state funding drop in recent years. Iowa officials said the state money was intended as seed funding to start the group but was not considered permanent.