The Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community

The Community

The Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community (GPMMC) region is the birthplace of American metal manufacturing and includes some of America’s leading manufacturing cities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. GPMMC has historic strengths in metals, strong supplier networks, world class research universities, abundant energy and water, and available brownfields sites. The partnership’s 20-county area, spanning Pennsylvania and West Virginia, includes 1636 metal manufacturing establishments that employ over 63,000 people and contribute $2.1 billion in exports each year. In addition to the standard private sector, academic, and non-profit partners, this community includes support from the United SteelWorkers and SMART Labor Unions, which have committed to partner with industry to train workers and engage with minority and under-served populations.

The Vision

The Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community plans to leverage their strengths in metals manufacturing to capitalize on the confluence of advances in new materials, digital technology and energy to re-energize metals manufacturing. The metals sector supports a wide and powerful range of other American manufacturing sectors that are critical to the nation, including aeronautics and aerospace, automotive manufacturing, clean tech, energy infrastructure, robotics, and beyond. The GPPMC consortium hopes to show how “Pittsburgh makes metals and metals make American manufacturing,” can lead to the expansion of firms and well-paying jobs in the region.

The Strategy

Workforce and Training: Understanding that an agile and competitive manufacturing workforce is a key component of a vibrant manufacturing ecosystem, the region will implement projects to build their future workforce through recruitment and training. The partnership will facilitate industry-led development of common curriculum for middle skilled occupations as the foundation for new training programs, promote awareness of employment opportunities among students and parents so that more young people strongly consider careers in manufacturing, ensure that underrepresented and disadvantaged populations and veterans have strong connections to employment opportunities, and expand apprenticeships, internships, and community college offerings for high-skilled, high-wage metal sector jobs through university and college partnerships.

Supplier Networks: GPMMC will facilitate interagency cooperation to expand and enhance business assistance services to increase the competitiveness of firms. They will create direct connections between supplier networks and workforce development programs in a way that addresses industry needs. They also plan to expand business assistance services to supply chain firms for new product development, innovation, and business growth. This will be done by linking businesses to universities through a state funded Manufacturing Innovation Program, and linking innovations to commercialized partners through supply chain mapping and a virtual “Innovation Marketplace.” Global competitiveness will be enhanced through collaboration and productivity improvements, including promoting energy efficiency and sustainability to reduce costs and environmental impacts. 

Research and Innovation: The GPMMC region is home to some of the world’s best research universities in the areas of advanced manufacturing and engineering. University research capabilities will be leveraged to advance manufacturing technology, accelerate commercialization and foster manufacturing innovation. The partnership will support entrepreneurship and leverage the Maker Movement by creating spaces such as Hardware Design Centers to foster promising product-oriented innovators and encourage “making” as a viable career option. 

Infrastructure and Site Development: To address some of the infrastructure challenges the region faces, the GPPMC will improve transportation access to and from key industrial sites and will redevelop targeted industrial sites to accommodate the infrastructure needs of firms and supply chain companies. They will also implement plans to promote environmental sustainability in the region by focusing on clean and green technologies to improve sites and manufacturing processes. These plans will help attract new business, improve infrastructure, advance clean technologies, and repurpose brownfield sites in close proximity to urban areas. 

Trade and International Investment: Regional plans will improve the capacity of supply chain firms to access export markets and attract existing manufacturers to locate in the region. To accomplish this, they will expand Trade Assistance and Market Access Grants and align regional air service with key markets. They will also develop the World Trade Center to integrate regional global marketing services, designate international business accelerators to support investors, and conduct regional asset mapping to link suppliers to new businesses. 

Operational Improvement and Capital Access: The region will increase investment funding available for mature and startup firms to spur growth and improve operational capacity and efficiency, including energy efficiency. Economic adjustment and support will diversify coal and defense supply chain members from declining markets, and leverage broadband infrastructure to assist firms in accessing high speed internet tools. They will support business growth through expanded venture capital and regional asset mapping that matches startups to existing firms.

The Partnership

Catalyst Connection is an MEP Center and the lead organization for this consortium which will include a wide array of partners. 

City Government: The City of Pittsburgh and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh; 

Community Development Financial Institution: Bridgeway Capital; 

Nonprofits: Catalyst Connection, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Innovation Works, and Johnstown Area Regional Industries; 

Workforce Investment Board: Westmoreland Fayette Workforce Investment Board; 

Universities: West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh; 

Manufacturers: DMI Companies, JWF Industries; 
Economic Development Agencies: Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Affiliates.