Michael Nefs

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The problem of this study was to identify, document, and prioritize technical assistance needs of North Dakota manufacturers. The primary objective was to determine the technical assistance needs of North Dakota manufacturers as they relate to: a) education; b) consulting; c) research and development. A secondary objective was to prioritize the ten most pertinent technical areas of need as determined by the North Dakota manufacturers.

This study used a descriptive survey research method. The researcher devised a survey instrument and was validated by a panel of experts. The instrument included fifty-three technical areas, most of which are emerging technologies. The questionnaire asked the manufacturers to assess their degree of technical need as it related to education, consulting and research and development. The questionnaire was sent to six hundred seventy North Dakota manufacturers.

The study was divided into six sections: (a) devise a survey questionnaire, (b) perform a pilot study, (c) identify the population, (d) collect the data, (e) organize the data, and (f) statistical analysis of the data. Central tendency, standard deviation, rank order, and correlation were the four statistical tests used for analyzing the data

The following conclusions were made after the completion of the study:

1) The type of technical assistance most evident was for education.

2) The top ten technical areas correlate closely with technical concepts that are on the cutting edge of technology

3) North Dakota manufacturers are interested in acquiring the information needed to make an informative decision on whether or not to implement these pertinent technologies

The following recommendations are offered for further study:

1 . A follow-up study be performed in three years to determine if the technical assistance needs of North Dakota manufacturers have changed.

2. Set-up a program that would allow the manufacturers and the higher education community to accumulate and disseminate information pertinent to their wants and needs.

3. A study that encompasses more of the business and administrative end of manufacturing.

4. Design a study that would continue to acquire information for a manufacturers' database for North Dakota.

5. Conduct a feasibility study to determine the need for a manufacturing extension service in North Dakota