|A report on HES Extension programs
Missouri's families & communities
Faced with increased foreign competition, Missouri's textile
and apparel industry is struggling. The industry may maintain a
low-profile but it is vital to the state's economy. Of Missouri's
114 counties, 93 have at least one textile and apparel
manufacturer, usually in rural towns that offer few employment
options. Across the state the industry employs some 24,000
To help strengthen its position within the industry, the Missouri Textile and Apparel Center or MO-TAC has joined forces with four midwest universities to form a consortium known as the Textile and Apparel Alliance of Mid-America (TAAM), the consortium is comprised of teaching and extension faculty from MU, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and South Dakota
MO-TAC, the outreach arm of the textile and apparel management department and directed by Susan Henson, serves as a hub of information and resources for the state's textile and apparel industry. The center also serves as a liaison between manufacturers in Missouri and buyers across the nation.
TAAM members bring a range of expertise to the table: product
design and development, marketing and sales, employee training
and application of new technologies. "The idea of the
consortium is to focus on the strengths of each university.
Oklahoma State, for example, is strong in retailing. We are
stronger in manufacturing," said Betty Dillard, MU assistant
professor of textile and apparel management.
One way TAAM is reaching out is through seminars and technology shows. For example, managers from a dozen Missouri textile and apparel companies were invited to a material utilization seminar and technology show sponsored by TAAM.
The seminar, led by Dillard, helped manufacturers learn to better control inventories, plan purchases and manage production involving fabrics. "In Missouri, the industry must establish a competitive niche, get their product to market faster and adapt state-of-the-art processes," says Dillard, Looking ahead, TAAM plans a series of seminars to help small retailers stay in business.