(August 26, 2021) Over the past 12 months, nearly 1,200 Pennsylvania small and mid-sized manufacturers turned to their regional Industrial Resource Center for assistance in responding to the many operational, supply chain, financial and workforce challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the economy rebounds, those firms are reporting outstanding benefits from the Industrial Resource Center services they received.

According to data voluntarily submitted to the Fors Marsh Group, an independent market research and data analysis firm headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, by 601 Pennsylvania-based manufacturers that utilized Industrial Resource Center services and resources over the past year, Industrial Resource Center assistance resulted in nearly $1 billion of positive financial impact – including $675.3 million of incremental firm revenue and $71.7 million in operational cost savings. Industrial Resource Center advisement also allowed their clients to avoid 5,530 layoffs and create 1,291 full-time manufacturing jobs despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“Pennsylvania manufacturers faced a myriad of unforeseen struggles during the pandemic and the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Centers were beside them every step of the way. By helping them assess the impacts of COVID-19 upon their business, implement innovative solutions, resolve supplier and customer concerns, address workforce challenges and remain operational in safe and effective ways, we generated significant immediate results,” said Robert Zaruta, President & CEO of NWIRC, one of Pennsylvania’s seven Industrial Resource Centers, and President of the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Network. “As our manufacturers continue to drive our Commonwealth forward, the Industrial Resource Centers will remain focused on working with them to maximize their productivity, profitability and job-creation potential,” he added.

The Industrial Resource Centers represent Pennsylvania’s flagship program for supporting small and mid-sized manufacturers and accelerating their growth. “The IRCs are an essential component of the Commonwealth’s overall economic development and growth strategy and key players in the continued vibrancy of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing economy,” said Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63rd), who serves as Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania House Manufacturing Caucus. “It’s important that we continue to invest in the IRCs given the importance of manufacturing to our communities, commonwealth and country,” she added. House Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-132nd) noted, “At the end of the day, the people of Pennsylvania are most successful when the private and public sectors work together to create jobs and fund communities. There is a bipartisan agreement that IRC’s are a critical piece of the manufacturing sector, and they have helped create family-sustaining jobs and expand business opportunities in Pennsylvania.” Co-Chairs of the PA Senate Manufacturing Caucus are Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28th) and Jim Brewster (D-45th). Senator Phillips-Hill said, “A strong manufacturing sector means a stronger America. Over the last year, our IRCs all across the Commonwealth have played a pivotal role in helping our manufacturers navigate very difficult times. The pandemic has shown us how vital American made goods are to the success and security of our nation.”

Across Pennsylvania, manufacturing is the third-largest employment sector, with 541,000 workers and more than $36 billion in annual wages. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Pennsylvania firms produce $92.4 billion of economic output each year, $33 billion of which is exported to overseas customers and markets.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Network consists of seven strategically located centers:

The seven Industrial Resource Centers receive operational support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Manufacturing PA initiative and from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Institute of Standards & Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.