IPI Finds Benefit in ILC Membership

Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) credits membership in the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC) with broadening opportunities for the people it serves. IPI is a division of the Iowa Department of Corrections that provides training to incarcerated men and women. IPI staff are ILC members through the State of Iowa’s organizational membership. 

“The networking relationships we’ve developed by attending ILC learning opportunities help us share with other organizations who we are and what we do,” said Steve Forbes, an IPI training specialist. “Once other members understand our mission, they see potential hiring possibilities for those being released.” 

ILC membership also helps IPI employees develop skills in continuous improvement thinking that can be shared with others, including incarcerated individuals working in the Prison Industries Enhancement program. The program trains individuals for jobs with companies that are struggling to find workers.  

“We know there’s no such thing as a perfect process, and we also understand that we have many opportunities to improve or reduce waste,” said Forbes. “ILC events gives us the skills and knowledge to do that.” 

According to ILC program director Tracy Schuster, “The IPI team exemplifies the core values of the Consortium by sharing lessons learned, offering tours, serving on Consortium teams, and actively participating in events. We are grateful for the work they are doing and for the many ways they contribute to the ILC.” 

Forbes is a strong advocate of ILC membership, calling it one of the best lean-focused groups he’s been associated with in his 30-year career. 

“It’s a fantastic resource for learning and developing skills,” he said. “The knowledge gained as well as the networking and business relationships that can be developed are great reasons to join.”  

For more, contact Tracy Schuster at tschust@iastate.edu or 515-715-0614.