Education Research Institute (ERI)
Incorporated in 2007, Northwest Food Processors Education Research Institute (ERI) exists to enhance the overall economic health of the Northwest food processing cluster and the communities it supports. ERI and its implementation arm, Northwest Food Processors Innovation Productivity Center (IPC), work on behalf of the food processing industry in the following areas: innovation infrastructure, workforce development/pipelining, operational productivity, strategic alliances, research and transportation.
Because it was created through an initial $3.4 million contract with the Oregon Innovation Council, to date ERI/IPC activities have been focused on the state of Oregon, although NWFPA is seeking funding that will expand the organization’s work to Washington and Idaho member companies. ERI offers a suite of services (including in-plant productivity and energy efficiency collaborations), programs (including traveling innovation/productivity seminars and programming at annual NWFPA events) and projects (such as the NWFPA Energy Vision and Roadmap) designed to improve the lot of the Northwest food processing industry as a whole. In 2009, ERI received a further $1.6 million from the State of Oregon, which will be used to significantly enhance and expand ERI/IPC’s online “Knowledge Center,” the member access point for ERI’s vast reservoir of innovation and productivity knowledge.
ERI, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) public benefit corporation and NWFPA subsidiary, also administers the NWFPA Endowment Fund
, a pool of industry-contributed resources used for scholarships, including those for Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Idaho, and research benefiting the Northwest food processing industry. ERI’s 501 (c)(3) status means that all corporate and individual contributions to the Endowment Fund are tax deductible.