Building a Microsoft Community

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Hammond Development Corporation
City & State:
Hammond , 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Our mission is to continue to foster the economic development of Hammond. We do this through the revitalization of downtown Hammond, building technology-based businesses, developing and promoting the visual and performing arts and developing minority and women owned businesses.Over the past five years HDC has:Brought over 100,000 square feet of downtown office space on line Created 70,000 sq ft theater building Trained over 400 entrepreneurs Funded nearly 50 start-ups Was instrumental in the creation of Indiana’s first urban certified technology park


Submission Information

Impact Essay

Our whole business community large and small has been introduced to the Microsoft Software and Programs acquired through Tech Soup and free downloads. We have revitalized the community businesses with sessions relating to the job skills they need to be profitable and productive. Introducing Office to these businesses has assisted them in creating reports, marketing materials, and financial outlooks that they had not utilized before in their business operations. Business within the community along with other participants in the training have begun to perceive themselves as a player in the global market because of the internet programs and tools that Microsoft has provided.

18 months ago we were awarded an HP grant that allowed us to equip a training center of fifteen computer stations and a separate resource center available to the community and located in an urban city. These centers are equipped with internet and presentation equipment along with additional resource materials and the residents of Hammond have utilized these facilities ongoing as our programs have grown. Through the resource center we have assisted our community businesses in developing marketing programs that utilize Publisher products. Our loan clients have developed business plans using Microsoft Word and Excel and have participated in other training programs.

Through this training center we have presented Microsoft Office classes in five to six week segments of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook and will continue these programs on a rotating basis. We monthly present QuickBooks Intro, Advanced, Non-Profit and Point of Sales which we present in two half day sessions. Microsoft Office Live Website Training has been well received by our smaller or home based businesses who after taking this training and developing their website now have an “internet business card and identity” locally and globally. To date we have held 39 training sessions with 287 participants. (See our training schedule on .

We have been able to partner with other organizations and institutions to present job fairs creating data bases of attendees and using Microsoft Word to create templates for resumes and cover letters that they can customize for their job leads or interviews. We have presented our training programs and info sessions for chambers and small business organizations and some of these group members have attended our sessions. We currently are presenting in partnership with the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors Microsoft training programs to their individual real estate agents. This training is offered to the regional real estate agents of Northwest Indiana... The Gary, East Chicago, Hammond Empowerment Zone staff has been training in Office through our programs and we have assisted them in developing an onsite training center in the middle of Gary for their small business community. Last summer we partnered with the Hammond Career Center Business Director to develop hands on lessons in Publisher for the students to use in the fall.

Within our own organization progress has been made because of this technology. We have created data bases of our small business loan clients, training participants, mailing lists, sponsors and mentors. We have increased our marketing capabilities by using Microsoft Office Live creating and maintaining our website and have created other websites for community non profits (ex still in progress). We use Microsoft Publisher to create our newsletter and the Gary Hammond, East Chicago Empowerment Zone newsletter on a regular basis. We also create our flyers, brochures, training catalog business cards and post cards using Microsoft Publisher.

Because of the grant we received from HP that provided computers, printers and a presentation projector and the software we have acquired through TechSoup, particularly Microsoft Programs, we have been able to apply for additional grants to benefit small businesses. We have received a grant for technology training as a consortium administrator of several small business companies through Workforce Development. This particular grant’s purpose is to develop existing staff in these small businesses in the area of technology, particular in Microsoft Office programs.

We have applied and received our Microsoft Certification site designation and through Certiport pretest and test for certification in Microsoft office 2003, 2007 and IC3. We will expand to the Adobe programs this year. Through this designation we have certified 7 participants and 13 have taken the certification test but need to retake. All our TAG participants have taken pretests to see their growth in each Office program.

This past year we have had 5 interns from Calumet College St. Joseph who have taken our Office training to expand their skills. Two have taken what they learned into the south side of Chicago and currently train their church members in developing their computer skills.

Microsoft products and programs will continue to be an intricate part of the Hammond Development organization. We will be moving forward presenting “Green Business” training using PowerPoint and Publisher for presentation and hand out materials this September and will be presenting Microsoft Office programs to the LakeShore Chamber membership of 641 community business representatives in ½ day workshops in August of 2009. One of our next projects will be to create a video of downtown Hammond with oral histories from our long term business leaders. We will continue to add information on our Face Book, Linked IN Group pages using Microsoft products as tools in developing our marketing strategy.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact