Accommodating southwestern Pennsylvania’s explosive manufacturing growth

Accommodating southwestern Pennsylvania’s explosive manufacturing growth

2022-07-13T07:47:20-04:00March 10th, 2022|Economy, Manufacturing, Pittsburgh|

Writer: Elizabeth Palmer

manufacturing growth2 min read March 2022 — With an economy that continues to reinvent itself, Pittsburgh has been chosen as the host city for the 2022 Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit. Pittsburgh and the surrounding region has become a renowned global hub for advanced manufacturing, surrounded by a plethora of robotics and artificial intelligence companies as well as prestigious universities. Amid a boom of manufacturing in the region, leaders are working hard to make available the resources and talent necessary to accommodate current and future manufacturing growth.

Expansions of existing manufacturers in the region are plentiful, with a recent example being Eos Energy Enterprises announcing its plans of adding more than 46,000 square feet of additional space and approximately 125 jobs. Wabtec Corporation recently shared its optimistic outlook, pointing to its robust five-year financial target of double-digit EPS growth. Not only are existing manufacturers expanding their presence and anticipating growth, but many external firms are also establishing presences within the region. Texas-based Cumberland Additive expanded its operations to Neighborhood 91 in Pittsburgh, a production ecosystem that is the first in the world to condense and connect all components of the additive manufacturing and 3D-printing supply chain, which will help the company to mitigate risks, costs and complexities.  To accommodate the rapid growth of the region’s manufacturing industry, local leaders are doing their best to provide the employees and resources needed to accommodate the growth.

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, an organization dedicated to economic development and quality of life issues for Greater Pittsburgh, highlightedopens PDF file advanced manufacturing in its 10-year plan as a key industry for the region’s future success. “We will fully leverage the region’s strong industrial backbone – airport cargo facility; river, rail and freight infrastructure; available sites and buildings and more – as well as our rich human and natural resources to encourage increased investment in advanced materials and manufacturing,” stated the Allegheny Conference in its plan. 

Recruitment and retention of a high-quality talent pool will be critical to the manufacturing industry’s growth, and surrounding counties and local governments are working to bolster their local workforces. For example, in Westmoreland County the Digital Foundry in New Kensington and the Advanced Technology Center in the Regional Industrial Development Corporation’s Westmoreland Innovation Center are meeting the needs of a modernizing manufacturing industry, training a workforce that has the ability to innovate and think creatively. Regional partnerships such as that between Community College of Allegheny County, Tri-State Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Consortium are helping to support the industry’s growth as well.

The state government is also serving as a useful resource. Its Workforce Development arm offers aid to employers through Industrial Resource Centers, Industry Partnerships and a number of workforce grants. The Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program makes recruitment and retention easier while making employment more accessible. Governor Tom Wolf’s Manufacturing PA Program emphasizes workforce development through the Manufacturing Training-to-Career Grant, the Manufacturing Innovation Program and Industrial Resource Centers. “We need to support our students and trainees by making sure they have the best possible training programs and we need to support our businesses, so they can innovate, grow and thrive,” said Governor Wolf.