Catalyst Connection’s 2023 Annual Report Shows How Organization is Helping to Strengthen Manufacturing in Southwestern PA and Beyond

News | Petra Mitchell| February 21, 2024

For Immediate Release

Contact: Matt Holjes
Catalyst Connection

Pittsburgh (Hazelwood), February 21, 2024 – Catalyst Connection, a not-for-profit organization that provides consulting and training services to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) in the 12-county southwestern Pennsylvania region accelerate revenue growth and improve productivity, has released its 2023 Annual Report. Last year marked Catalyst Connection’s 35th year of helping SMMs meet their strategic goals.

In 2023, the organization generated almost $10 million in revenue from public and private sources. The more than 230 companies Catalyst Connection worked with last year increased their sales by nearly $16.5 million, and generated retained sales of nearly $83 million, creating more than 150 jobs and retaining nearly 500 positions. Companies served represent 20 manufacturing industries, including fabricated metal products, machinery, and plastic and rubber products.

“The 2023 Annual Report summarizes the breadth and depth of our work over the past year to help manufacturers compete in an increasingly dynamic business environment,” says Petra Mitchell, Catalyst Connection’s President and CEO. “I am optimistic about the future of manufacturing because of our clients’ ongoing ability to diversify, innovate, and grow.”

Since 1988, Catalyst Connection has worked with about 1,400 of southwestern Pennsylvania’s 2,700 manufacturers. Those companies employ 86,000 people. Over the past 35 years, Catalyst Connection has helped its clients generate more than $3.5 billion in sales increases, nearly $3.33 billion in retained sales, cost savings of nearly $270 million, and nearly 22,000 jobs created or retained.

Doubling Reach Year-Over-Year

The organization’s annual revenue will grow again this year because Catalyst Connection was awarded a $10 million federal grant last October from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC’s) Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) fund. The grant is enabling Catalyst Connection to lead a multi-state effort that assists more than 1,000 SMMs with expanding or entering the green technology and clean energy sectors in more than 150 counties across Appalachian Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Under the grant’s terms, Catalyst Connection is facilitating training, technical assistance, supply chain mapping, and guidance on factory upgrades to support manufacturers of renewable energy, hydrogen power, low-carbon and decarbonized power, smart grid improvements, electric vehicles, and green buildings.

ARC is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments that focuses on more than 400 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

Additional Highlights

Last year, Catalyst Connection continued to address southwestern Pennsylvania’s biggest barrier to growing a vibrant manufacturing sector: a shortage of skilled workers to fill open positions. The organization’s Workforce Development Team focused on leadership and organizational development training; launched a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) curriculum, engaged job seekers in pre-employment training; and expanded the manufacturing career pathways model with pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship and community college articulation agreements. With Catalyst Connection’s assistance, companies have hired and developed skilled workers to meet the changing demands of a new economy manufacturing sector.

In-person, the organization’s Second Annual MFG Works Summit, held at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, attracted more than 200 attendees who learned about a wide range of topics, including hiring and onboarding best practices, talent attraction, and hiring individuals who face barriers to entering the workforce.

Further attempts to attract experienced and entry-level individuals from non-traditional backgrounds to careers in manufacturing included creating Forging Your Future, a 25-minute self-paced online introductory course.

About Catalyst Connection

Catalyst Connection is a private not-for-profit organization that provides consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania to help them accelerate revenue growth and improve productivity. By collaborating with clients and the entire manufacturing community, Catalyst Connection contributes to the growth, vibrancy, and ongoing robustness of manufacturing throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

The organization is supported, in part, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Catalyst Connection is headquartered in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood in the Mill 19 development on the site of a former steel mill. To download Catalyst Connection’s 2023 Annual Report, use this link

For more information, contact Matt Holjes, Managing Director of Business Development, at 412.918.4262 or