PITTSBURG, Kan. — A new division at Pittsburg State is looking into ways to grow the economy in Southeast Kansas.

The Economic Development and Community Engagement division hopes to use the resources of the university for partnerships and collaborations with businesses. Officials say the goal is to transform southeast Kansas into a place where students will want to live and work after they graduate.

The division was previously known as University Strategic Initiatives, which renovated four historic buildings in Pittsburg and helped develop the Kansas Polymer Research Center into the National Institute for Materials Advancement.

“Now we’re just sort of taking that to the next level in our planning, revising some of those strategic plans that we’ve done in the past. Working together with the city of Pittsburg to continue to help develop strong economic development policy. We also have the opportunity now with engaging on the research enterprise side off things and help build that out,” said Shawn Naccarato.

Eight million dollars has been secured to build a manufacturing prove-out facility for products that can be tested and manufactured in Pittsburg.