Manufacturing is the largest sector of Indiana's economy, accounting for approximately 20 percent of Indiana's jobs. For long-term viability in a competitive marketplace, manufacturing executives and policy makers believe that the state needs to position itself as a global industrial leader.
In 2000, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, a coalition of business and academic leaders, conducted a feasibility study and needs assessment to determine how to best help manufacturers. The study concluded that large and small companies - including automotive, food processing, electronics, steel, and pharmaceuticals - needed advanced technology. Specifically, CICP principals recommended a centralized resource that would assist existing companies, help attract new businesses to the state, and create opportunities for citizens, helping to alleviate what many call Indiana's "brain drain."
Purdue's Office of the Vice Provost for Research then completed a survey of 80 Indiana companies to determine existing manufacturers' specific needs. In May 2004, at the Advanced Manufacturing Summit III, Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke announced the development of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The center officially opened July 1, 2004, with John P. Sullivan as its director.