Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Media Relations (news@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Training program aims to increase minority business competitiveness

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 5, 1995 — Minority business leaders and members of Historically Black Colleges and Universities are invited to attend an intensive Department of Energy (DOE) training program to enhance business expertise and competitiveness in manufacturing.

The five-day program, scheduled for spring 1996, will be at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT). The program, planned by the ORNL Office of Small and Minority Business Outreach and ORCMT, is sponsored by DOE's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. A session covering identical topics offered this fall has already been completed.

The program is designed to provide technological information to enable minority businesses to enter high-performance manufacturing and develop technical self-sufficiency.

"Surveys indicate that minority- and women-owned businesses are significantly under-represented in the U.S. manufacturing sector," said Wilbert Minter of the Office of Small and Minority Business Outreach. "Many of these businesses have considerable technical knowledge but do not have access to state-of-the-art research and manufacturing, high-technology manufacturing capabilities, or learning opportunities to develop this knowledge."

The program will address a wide range of manufacturing process technologies. Also planned are lectures and demonstrations in which participants will have opportunities for hands-on shop experience. Research scientists, technical experts and people highly skilled in various crafts will lead the sessions. Topics will include manufacturing-related research and development, concurrent engineering, manufacturing processes, total quality management and an assortment of other topics, such as material requirements planning and shop floor control.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is dedicated to conducting basic and applied research and development to advance the nation's energy sources, environmental quality, scientific knowledge, educational foundations and, the focus of this training program, industrial competitiveness. The latter is the cornerstone of ORCMT, a customer-driven, nationally recognized industrial resource center for manufacturing technology. Many of ORCMT's facilities, originally developed for manufacturing components of nuclear weapons, have been adapted for technologies now available for private industry to help make American industries more competitive in the world marketplace while maintaining national security capabilities.

"This training program is an example of how DOE and the ORNL Office of Small and Minority Business Outreach are opening opportunities to a group of enterprising leaders with motivation but lacking some of the resources needed to enhance their position in the marketplace," said Alvin W. Trivelpiece, director of ORNL.

Also attending this program will be 15 South African business leaders, made possible by scholarships awarded by DOE.

"It is our hope that bringing South African business leaders together with the U.S. business leaders will spark joint partnerships that could be of mutual benefit to all," Minter said.

ORNL is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.

The training program, for which there is no charge, was planned by the ORNL Office of Small and Minority Business Outreach and ORCMT. It is by invitation only, so anyone interested is encouraged to contact the Office of Small and Minority Business Outreach at (865) 574-9803. Dates of the training session will be announced.