FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary for Technology and Innovation Sheri Collins joined representatives from Reading Area Community College (RACC), Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI), Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, and other partners to provide an update on Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative, which supports Pennsylvania’s manufacturing community through strategic partnerships while emphasizing job training to career pathways.
“Since day one, Governor Wolf has been committed to strengthening Pennsylvania manufacturing, and the Manufacturing PA initiative has become a major pillar in that goal,” Collins said. “This program has already made a significant and positive impact on manufacturers, workers, and our partners across Pennsylvania by supporting the creation of new training programs and developing a program that empowers our best and brightest students to develop innovative new manufacturing technologies.”
Since Governor Wolf launched Manufacturing PA last year, the initiative has awarded $8.6 million in funding to Industrial Resource Centers, educational institutions, and other manufacturing partners cross the commonwealth. This includes a total of more than $1 million awarded to nine organizations across the commonwealth to develop new, innovative training programs to help more than 350 unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. These training-to-career grants have been distributed to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Reading Area Community College, Workforce Solutions of North Central Pennsylvania, the Precision Manufacturing Institute, the Manufacturers Research Center, the Greater Johnstown Career & Technical Center, Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Robert Morris University, and New Century Careers.
“In Berks and surrounding counties that RACC’s Schmidt Training & Technology Center serves, there is an estimated need for 10,000+ production workers in the next five years,” said Bonnie Spayd, executive director of workforce and economic development at RACC, one of the recipients of a Training to Career grant. “RACC/STTC’s new program is intended to provide the necessary skills needed to work in a production environment as well as a greater understanding of the products produced, the benefit of the products to society, and the competitive pay and upward mobility opportunities that exist in manufacturing companies.”
“The metals manufacturing sector is critically important to the Johnstown economy,” said Linda Thomson, president and CEO of JARI, another recipient of a Training-to-Career grant. “Abundant job openings throughout this sector are requiring outside-the-box thinking about how to move individuals into manufacturing career paths. The Training to Career grant program is helping JARI to do just that by helping us provide training that leads to a manufacturing certification, thus filling critical job openings.”
Additionally, in May 2018, Governor Wolf launched a new fellowship program through Manufacturing PA designed to partner Pennsylvania’s best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students with local manufacturers to develop new technologies and advance innovation statewide. The fellowship program will embed student fellows from any accredited Pennsylvania college or university with local manufacturing companies and provide funding for research projects designed to develop new products or processes for that company. The Manufacturing PA initiative also provides funding to Industrial Resource Centers, which helps manufacturers respond to changing markets, new technology, and the competitive pressures of today’s global economy.
“Governor Wolf’s origination of the Manufacturing PA in 2017 and continued support for the initiative throughout 2018 evidences his dedication to bolstering Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector – which continues to account for more than 10 percent of total employment,” said Eric Esoda, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center and chairman of the Industrial Resource Center network. “The Industrial Resource Centers utilize this funding to work exclusively with small and mid-sized manufacturers on critical engagements in the areas of Cybersecurity, Supply Chain Optimization and the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Gerber, 717.783.1132
Based in Pittsburgh, Catalyst Connection is an economic development organization dedicated to helping small manufacturers to improve their competitive performance. Catalyst advisors, consultants, and instructors offer training, consulting and administer financial programs that can provide funding for equipment, machinery, or capital improvements. As a nonprofit 501 (c)3 firm, the organization has been supporting Southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers for more than 25 years. For more information call 1-888-887-7472 or go to www.catalystconnection.org.